Friday, May 17, 2024
Friday, May 17, 2024
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AJK Protests End After Government Accepts Demands

The Jammu Kashmir Joint Awami Action Committee (JAAC) has ended its protests in Azad Jammu and Kashmir (AJK) after the government accepted their demands. The JAAC representative announced that those arrested during the protests will be released and charges against demonstrators will be dropped.

JAAC leader Shaukat Nawaz Mir thanked Prime Minister Shehbaz Sharif for meeting their demands, which included cheaper flour, cheaper electricity, and the end of privileges for the elite class. Mir mentioned that the suspension of internet services had prevented the news of successful negotiations from reaching the protesters.

Earlier, the JAAC had planned a “black day” to honor three people who died in clashes with law enforcement. The clashes also resulted in dozens of injuries and the death of a policeman. Funeral prayers for the deceased were scheduled for 2 PM at the University Ground.

Despite the federal and AJK governments agreeing to the protesters’ demands, demonstrations continued for a fourth day. The day before, PM Shehbaz Sharif announced a Rs23 billion subsidy package for AJK after a high-level meeting. AJK PM Chaudhry Anwarul Haq confirmed the issuance of notifications regarding subsidies for power and food, expressing hope for peace in the region.

At a press conference in Islamabad, AJK PM assured that the government would not disrupt the peaceful protests and that the subsidy notifications would take immediate effect and be included in the next budget for FY2024-25.

According to the notifications:

  • The flour price is reduced from Rs3,100 to Rs2,000 per 40 kilograms.
  • Electricity prices will be Rs3 per unit for usage between 1-100 units, Rs5 per unit for usage between 100-300 units, and Rs6 per unit for usage above 300 units.
  • Commercial electricity rates are set at Rs10 per unit for 1-300 units and Rs15 per unit for usage above 300 units.

Following these announcements, the JAAC called off the protests but declared a state-wide shutter down until 3 PM to honor those who died during the protests.

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