Home ยป PM Shehbaz Sharif Allocates Rs23 Billion to Address Unrest in Azad Kashmir

PM Shehbaz Sharif Allocates Rs23 Billion to Address Unrest in Azad Kashmir

by Mohammed Ahmed

Following days of intense protests and clashes in Azad Jammu and Kashmir (AJK), which resulted in the death of a police officer and injuries to over 90 others, Prime Minister Shehbaz Sharif has approved a substantial financial package of Rs23 billion for the region. This decision comes as an effort to quell the unrest and meet the demands articulated by the Jammu Kashmir Joint Awami Action Committee (JAAC).

The JAAC has been at the forefront of the protests, advocating for lower electricity rates based on hydropower generation costs in AJK, subsidized wheat flour, and the removal of elite class privileges. The protests escalated following the arrest of about 70 activists in an attempt to prevent a planned march, leading to widespread strikes and clashes, particularly in Muzaffarabad.

The situation intensified over the weekend, with the protest movement resuming its march toward the state capital after failed negotiations with AJK officials. Amidst this backdrop, Prime Minister Sharif’s funding initiative aims to directly address the infrastructural and economic issues that have fueled the protests.

In a special meeting held in Islamabad, which included AJK Prime Minister Chaudhry Anwarul Haq and other local leaders, the allocation was discussed and is seen as a critical step towards stabilizing the region. The meeting, attended by federal ministers and leaders of coalition parties, reviewed the ongoing situation extensively.

President Asif Ali Zardari and Prime Minister Sharif have both called for restraint and dialogue to resolve the issues, emphasizing the importance of addressing the genuine demands of the protestors through peaceful means. The leaders urged all stakeholders to engage constructively to avoid further escalation and ensure the long-term stability of AJK.

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