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PM Shehbaz calls for permanent solution to AJK issues

During AJK visit, premier says people raised their voices for their genuine demands

Prime Minister Shehbaz Sharif (right) addressing cabinet meeting flanked by his AJK counterpart Chaudhary Anwarul Haq Haw on May 16, 2024. — Screengrab/APP

Days after the violent protests gripped Azad Jammu and Kashmir (AJK), Prime Minister Shehbaz Sharif has stressed the need for permanent solution to resolve the issues being faced by the people in the valley.

The premier paid a day-long visit to the AJK on Thursday two days after the Jammu Kashmir Joint Awami Action Committee (JAAC) called off its protests against inflation, high taxes and electricity bills.

The four days-long protests in AJK had claimed at least four lives including a policeman while also left seven others injured.

The protests were called off a day after the federal government announced a Rs23 billion subsidy package for AJK.

Addressing the special cabinet meeting in AJK, PM Shehbaz said he assured that his government, in collaboration with the AJK leadership, would ensure the implementation of mutual understanding and seek a permanent solution to the issues facing the Kashmiri people.

He instructed the formation of a committee to discuss issues like water charge, Neelum Jhelum and others for the benefit of the AJK people.

Referring to the recent movement run by the AJK people for their rights, PM Shehbaz said the people raised their voices for their genuine demands but amidst that some “miscreants tried to create riots and cause killings”.

He condoled the killing of a police official and some citizens during the movement and announced that his government would support their respective grieved families under the Shuhada Package.

He told the participants that Rs23 billion approved by his government had been released to the AJK government and assured that, after the completion of the IMF team’s visit, the federal minister and secretary for power would consult with the AJK authorities to seek a permanent solution to the issues and prevent the recurrence of such incidents.

The prime minister asked his AJK counterpart Chaudhary Anwarul Haq to constitute a committee on his side for necessary consultation with the relevant Pakistani ministries and urged him to take personal ownership of the matter as he would do so in Pakistan.

He instructed the relevant authorities to immediately complete the construction of the bridge of the Mangla Phase-2 project. Regarding Neelum Jhelum, he said federal Secretary Water and Minister for Kashmir Affairs Amir Muqam would discuss the matter with the Kashmiri leadership to formulate short-, medium- and long-term solutions.

Indian atrocities

PM Shehbaz also highlighted the Indian atrocities in Indian Illegally Occupied Jammu and Kashmir (IIOJK) and the plight of Kashmiris languishing in Tihar jail and assured that Pakistan would continue extending its moral and diplomatic support to the Kashmir cause.

He said the Indian ruling party could not contest the election in IIOJK under its real name which showed their fear of public anger for Indian human rights abuses in the territory.

In his remarks, AJK PM Haq welcomed PM Shehbaz in Azad Kashmir, who was accompanied by federal cabinet members and senior government officers.

He also said that Rs23 billion approved by him a couple of days ago, was received by his government showing an unprecedented swift implementation of the directives.

He said PM Shehbaz’s visit to AJK manifested the value Pakistan accorded to Azad Jammu and Kashmir.

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