Internet InfoMedia violent unrest over economic strife erupts in pakistans kashmir region
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“I have never seen such a large-scale uprising” in the restive region, a teacher at a local university said.

Vast protests have broken out in the Pakistan-controlled part of Kashmir, driven by outrage over soaring electricity bills and flour prices in a region that has long suffered economically because of its status as a conflict zone.

In an attempt to quell the growing unrest — which has led to a widespread strike and left one police officer dead and 90 injured — Prime Minister Shehbaz Sharif called an emergency meeting for Monday in Islamabad, the Pakistani capital.

As protesters planned to march this week to Muzaffarabad, the regional capital, the authorities suspended internet service in many areas and shut down schools in the city.

“I have never seen such a large-scale uprising in Pakistan-administered Kashmir,” said Mubashar Naqvi, a Muzaffarabad resident and a teacher at the University of Azad Jammu and Kashmir. “This protest is unique because it unites people from all walks of life in demanding basic necessities.”

The picturesque but highly militarized Himalayan region of Kashmir, claimed by both Pakistan and India since their independence from Britain in 1947, has been the site of three wars between the estranged neighbors.

The current unrest poses a challenge for the Pakistani military, which maintains a heavy presence in the region, and the civilian leadership in Islamabad. Pakistan regards Kashmir as a disputed territory whose status should be resolved through a U.N.-mandated referendum to allow Kashmiris to choose between being part of Pakistan or India.

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