PM approves Rs23bn grant for AJK amid protests against inflation


Forum, attended by federal ministers and leaders of allied parties, reviewed developing situation of territory

Prime Minister Shehbaz Sharif chairs a meeting in Peshawar on March 6, 2024. — PID
  • Forum attended by federal ministers, political leaders.
  • Kashmiri leadership thanks PM Shehbaz.
  • AJK president, PM attend meeting. 

ISLAMABAD: Prime Minister Shehbaz Sharif on Monday approved a Rs23 billion grant on an urgent basis to resolve issues of people in Azad and Jammu Kashmir (AJK).

The development comes after protests and demonstrations erupted in AJK on the call of Awami Action Committee (AAC) against inflated electricity bills and taxes.

The grant was okayed in a special meeting convened over unrest in AJK and presided over by the premier in Islamabad.

The forum, attended by federal ministers and leaders of the allied parties, reviewed the developing situation of the territory in detail. The Kashmiri leadership and participants of the meeting thanked PM Shehbaz for the grant.

AJK President Barrister Sultan Mehmood, AJK PM Anwarul Haq, Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz (PML-N) leader Raja Farooq Haider, Federal Minister for Kashmir Affairs Amir Muqam, Minister for Energy Awais Leghari, and other prominent political leaders attended the meeting.

PM Shehbaz convened the meeting to discuss the ongoing situation in AJK after the negotiations between the protesters and the government ended in a deadlock.

Earlier today, a long march led by the AAC left for AJK capital, Muzaffarabad on the fourth day of the wheel-jam strike. 

Protestors staged sit-ins, closing Kohala–Muzaffarabad Road at several locations. The road stretches 40 kilometres and links Kohala town with Muzaffarabad in AJK. The protesters are expected to take the same road from Dhirkot to reach the capital.

The government of AJK called in the Rangers and AJK police after clashes between the police and protestors erupted in Mirpur during demonstrations that killed a cop and injured more than 70 others a couple of days ago.

Heavy contingents of police were posted at roundabouts and sensitive locations, while markets, trade centres and educational institutes remain closed. Transportation is also suspended.

Expressing deep concerns over the violent clashes between the AJK police and the protesters, PM Shehbaz on Sunday said that there should be “absolutely no tolerance for taking the law in one’s own hands”.

The premier further said that he had spoken to AJK Prime Minister Chaudhry Anwarul Haq and also directed all Pakistan Muslim League-N office bearers in AJK to talk to the leaders of the action committee.

“I urge 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.”

AJK protests

The AAC called for a shutter down and wheel-jam strike across the state to protest the electricity price hike and taxes. However, the situation escalated as the protestors and police clashed.

A sub-inspector was killed while dozens other policemen and protesters also got injured during the teargas shelling by the police and stone pelting by the demonstrators.

The violent protesters damaged multiple vehicles, including a magistrate’s car at the Poonch-Kotli road. Moreover, markets, trade centres, offices and schools and restaurants remained closed across the AJK.

Police also launched a crackdown against the protesters after the events of violence, arresting dozens of individuals in the AJK capital.

A day earlier, the government also suspended mobile phone and internet services in different parts of AJK including Bhimber and Bagh Towns.

Meanwhile, in Mirpur, all the mobile networks and internet service had been suspended.


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