Protests continue in Muzaffarabad against construction of dams by China, Pakistan

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MUZAFFARABAD: A protest along with a torch rally was held in Muzaffarabad on Monday night against the mega dams proposed to be constructed by Chinese companies on Neelum-Jhelum River.

The protesters of ‘Darya Bachao, Muzaffarabad Bachao’ (Save River, Save Muzaffarabad) committee chanted slogans like “Neelum-Jhelum behne do, humein zinda rehne do” (let the Neelum and Jhelum rivers flow, let us live).

MUZAFFARABAD (AJK): People take part in a torch rally during a protest to oppose the mega-dams to be constructed by Chinese companies on Neelum-Jhelum River in Muzaffarabad city on Monday. (ANI Photo)

The rally was attended by hundreds of residents of the city and and people from other parts of AJK.

Recently, Pakistan and China signed agreements to construct Azad Pattan and Kohala Hydropower Projects in AJK region. Azad Pattan Hydel Power Project of 700.7 megawatts of electricity is part of the China-Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC) signed on July 6. The USD 1.54 billion project will be sponsored by the China Gezhouba Group Company (CGGC). The Kohala Hydroelectric Power Project which will be built on Jhelum River is roughly 7 km upstream of Azad Pattan Bridge in the Sudhanoti District of AJK and 90 km from Pakistan’s capital Islamabad. The project, expected to be completed by 2026, will be sponsored by China Three Gorges Corporation, International Finance Corporation (IFC) and Silk Road Fund.

The residents of Muzaffarabad are irked by the high Chinese presence in the area, massive construction of dams, and river diversions threatening their very existence. Pakistan and China are jointly plundering the natural resources of AJK and Gilgit Baltistan in the wake of China Pakistan Economic Corridor. The resentment in the occupied territories is high against Pakistan and China. (ANI)