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Electricity, flour prices slashed after PM Shehbaz orders immediate release of Rs23b to AJK govt

By News Desk

May 13, 2024 10:58 AM


PM Shehbaz orders immediate release of Rs23 billion to ease AJK situation

PM Shehbaz Sharif chairs special meeting on AJK situation.

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Prime Minister Shehbaz Sharif on Monday ordered an immediate release of Rs23 billion to resolve the issues confronting the people of Azad Jammu and Kashmir and to ease the protests, reported 24NewsHD TV channel.

Shehbaz Sharif decided to provide funds after thoroughly examining the situation in the territory, in a special meeting chaired by him on the subject in Islamabad, a PM Office press release said.

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

Azad Jammu and Kashmir prime minister, AJK 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 Prime Minister Shehbaz Sharif for his decision to provide funds.

Cut in prices notified

The Azad Kashmir government has accepted the demands of Awami Action Committee which led the long march against rampant inflation towards Muzaffarabad, by reducing prices of electricity and wheat flour, reported 24NewsHD TV channel.

According to a notification issued by the AJK Food Department, a 20kg flour bag will now be available for Rs1,000 and electricity price for domestic users of 100 units is slashed by three rupees per unit.

For the users of up to 300 unites, the rate is down by Rs5 per unit and for consumers using over 300 unites the price is reduced by Rs6 per unit.

For commercial users of 100 units, the rate is reduced by Rs10 per unit while for consumers using above 300 units will get a relief of Rs15 per unit.

A decrease of Rs1,100 per 40kg was also announced in the price of government’s wheat flour.

According to the notification, 20kg bag of fine flour will be available for Rs1,000 while 40kg bag can be bought for Rs2,000.

Long marchers on their way to Muzaffarabad

Expressing their rage against rampant inflation, ever-rising power tariff, flour prices and elite privileges, the demonstrators took their protest into fifth day on Monday backed by wheel-jam strike in Azad Jammu and Kashmir (AJK).
Due to deadlock in dialogue between the government and the agitationists, the long march advancing towards the Muzaffarabad capital is continued and moving from Dhirkot to its next destination on Monday, reported 24News HD TV channel.
As per the report, protest convoys were moving from several cities to the capital Muzaffarabad. Internet service remained partially suspended in several cities including Muzaffarabad.
The Kohala-Muzaffarabad highway has been blocked by people from many places. To prevent the marchers enterence in Muzaffarabad, a large number of Rangers and Azad Kashmir Police have been deployed in Kohala while there is a heavy presence of police at the intersections of the capital.
Markets, business centers, offices and educational institutions remain closed in AJK on Monday while inter-district transport is also completely closed and only few private vehicles are seen on the streets of the city.
Awami Action Committee (AAC) leader Shaukat Nawaz Mir while talking to the media on Monday said that they have no political agenda and are struggling for the rights of their people from their own government.
Shaukat Nawaz Mir said the government has given them a good offer regarding reducing flour prices but he cannot disclose it right now.
He said they are marching toward Muzaffarabad as the negotiations with government are over but they are still ready to step back if the representatives of the government give them the notification of approval of the demands after reaching Muzaffarabad.
Shaukat Nawaz Mir said that this protest will continue for an indefinite period. He said in a video message that people are being ‘tortured more by stopping the mobile service’. He stressed that the body was out for their rights and continued their campaign 'peacefully'.
The two-day clashes [on Friday and Saturday] between the police and protesters left one policeman dead and several people injured while more than 150 protesters were detained.
As per media reports, Rangers were called in but sent back after the AJK government opted for negotiations. The deadlock between the AJK government and demonstrators persisted over power tariffs as two hours long negotiations between the Joint Public Action Committee and the Chief Secretary of Azad Kashmir remained inconclusive on Sunday.

President Zardari urges stakeholders to exercise restraint over protests

President Asif Ali Zardari has urged all the stakeholders to exercise restraint and resolve the issues in Azad Jammu and Kashmir (AJK) through dialogue and mutual consultation.
He stressed that the political parties, state institutions and the people of AJK should act responsibly so that hostile elements could not exploit the situation to their benefit.

 

Reporters: Awais Kiyani and Safeer Raza


News Desk


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