Home » Unrest Continues in Azad Kashmir as Talks Fail

Unrest Continues in Azad Kashmir as Talks Fail

by Mohammed Ahmed

The situation in Azad Jammu and Kashmir (AJK) remains volatile as the Jammu Kashmir Joint Awami Action Committee (JAAC) recommenced its protest march towards Muzaffarabad, following unproductive negotiations with the AJK Chief Secretary and other government representatives. The talks, aimed at addressing the protestors’ demands for lower utility costs and other social grievances, concluded in a stalemate, prompting renewed demonstrations across the region.

The weekend’s discussions, which included prominent JAAC members from various districts, failed to produce any actionable agreements, according to protester leaders. Allegations of evasion and deceit by government officials have fueled further dissatisfaction among the protestors, leading to a continuation of the planned march and general strikes in several divisions including Muzaffarabad and Poonch.

The AJK government, anticipating further unrest, announced the closure of government offices and educational institutions on Monday. In several areas, only essential businesses were allowed to open for a few hours, reflecting the heightened security measures and the tense atmosphere pervading the state.

The discontent was further aggravated by initial reports and social media claims about the deployment of Rangers to control the protests, which were later withdrawn, adding to the confusion and anger among the protestors. The movement’s leaders have reiterated their commitment to peaceful protest, yet the presence of security forces and the recent escalation indicate a deepening crisis.

In response to the continuing unrest, President Asif Ali Zardari and Prime Minister Shehbaz Sharif have both called for restraint and dialogue. They emphasized the need for peaceful negotiations and urged all parties involved to avoid actions that could exacerbate the conflict. The Prime Minister has scheduled further meetings to address the situation, reflecting the urgency of finding a resolution to the grievances that have led to widespread protests.

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