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Friday, June 21, 2024  
14 Dhul-Hijjah 1445  

PM Shehbaz approves ‘immediate’ release of Rs23b for AJK

Kashmiri leadership, other participants of meeting thanked PM for his decision to provide funds
Prime Minister Shehbaz Sharif presides over a meeting in Islamabad on May 13, 2024. APP
Prime Minister Shehbaz Sharif presides over a meeting in Islamabad on May 13, 2024. APP
A bridge in Muzaffarabad give deserted look on May 12, 2024. Screengrab via Aaj News
A bridge in Muzaffarabad give deserted look on May 12, 2024. Screengrab via Aaj News

Prime Minister Shehbaz Sharif has ordered an “immediate release” of Rs23 billion to resolve the issues confronting the people of Azad Jammu and Kashmir.

The prime minister decided to provide funds after thoroughly examining the situation in the territory, in a special meeting chaired by him on the subject, a PM Office press release said on Monday.

Different parts of the AJK witnessed protest demonstrations during the last a coupe of days with the people seeking reduced electricity bills and taxes as well as subsidized wheat flour.

The AJK PM, cabinet members, and senior leadership attended the meeting besides the federal ministers and leaders of the coalition parties. The Kashmiri leadership and other participants of the meeting thanked PM Shehbaz for his decision to provide funds

In reaction to the announcement, the Join Action Committee said that it would decide to end the protest after a notification was issued as similar promises had been made in the past.

The protest movement – led by the JACC – resumed its march in AJK’s Muzaffarabad on Monday (today) as its key demands were still unmet.

“Our negotiations were not successful. Protest will continue until our three demands,” the committee’s spokesperson said in a statement on Sunday night.

The mountainous region has been cut off from the rest of the country since Friday after the Joint Action Committee announced a wheel-jam and shutter-down strike in support of their demands.

The group, which comprises farmers, businessmen, locals, and vendors, demands that electricity tariff should be determined from the cost of electricity production from the Mangla Hydropower Project, wheat subsidy similar to the one in Gilgit Baltistan, and an end to the unnecessary perks and privileges of the ruling class and officials.

These are some of the key demands of the group out of the total 10.

Umer Nazeer, senior leader of the committee, has claimed that the AJK government was not serious about its demands and accused it of speaking lies.

The movement announced its march on the state capital after the talks between the committee and AJK Chief Secretary Dawood Bareach in Rawalakot ended in a stalemate

Reports say that at least one policeman died in clashes with protesters and 25 were injured while around 100 protesters were arrested.

Internet and cellular services were suspended in all 10 districts of Azad Jammu and Kashmir on Sunday, reports said.

Prime Minister Shehbaz Sharif has summoned an emergency meeting over the AJK situation in Islamabad. Representatives of the state government and interior ministry would be present in the meeting.

Also, read this

AJK protests continue for second day, leading to food shortage, troubles for tourists

PPP leaders blast AJK PM as internet, cellular services remain suspended amid strike

Muzaffarabad shuts down as traders clash with police over inflated bills

He was “deeply concerned” about the situation in AJK.

“Unfortunately in situations of chaos and dissent there are always some who rush in to score political points. While debate, discussion and peaceful protests are the beauties of democracy , there should be absolutely no tolerance for taking the law in one’s own hands and damaging government properties,” he said in a social media post on Sunday.

He urged all parties to resort to peaceful course of action for resolution of their demands. “Despite best efforts of detractors, the matter will hopefully be settled soon.”

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