Pakistan Allocates PKR 23 Billion to PoK Amid Protests for Economic Reforms

World Defense

Pakistan Allocates PKR 23 Billion to PoK Amid Protests for Economic Reforms


Pakistan allocates PKR 23 billion to PoK following violent protests demanding economic reforms. The aid includes subsidised electricity tariffs and fixed wheat flour prices to ease residents' financial burdens.

Prime Minister Shehbaz Sharif has authorized the immediate allocation of PKR 23 billion to Pakistan-occupied Jammu and Kashmir (PoK) in response to recent clashes and protests in the region. This decision comes amid rising tensions, with the Jammu Kashmir Joint Awami Action Committee (JAAC) leading demonstrations demanding fair electricity pricing, subsidised wheat flour, and an end to elite privileges.

On May 9 and 10, police arrested around 70 activists to prevent a planned long march by the JAAC, which led to violent clashes in Dadyal and a widespread "shutter-down strike." The unrest continued in the following days, with confrontations between protesters and law enforcement in Muzaffarabad, resulting in casualties and injuries. Despite a brief period of calm, tensions flared again, leading to renewed protests and clashes.

Efforts to negotiate a resolution between the JAAC and PoK authorities have so far failed, worsening the situation. Both President Asif Ali Zardari and PM Shehbaz Sharif have pledged to address the protesters' grievances, calling for dialogue and restraint. As a precaution, government offices and educational institutions have remained closed.

Prime Minister Sharif convened a special meeting in Islamabad with PoK PM Chaudhry Anwarul Haq, local ministers, and key political figures to assess the situation. The allocation of funds was met with appreciation from PoK leaders, who acknowledged the Prime Minister's swift response.

At a press conference, PoK PM Chaudhry Anwarul Haq praised the aid package, attributing the unrest to alleged interference by India. He noted that 100 policemen were injured and a sub-inspector was killed during the protests, highlighting the severity of the clashes.

Haq also disclosed the allocation of PKR 10 billion from the Social Protection Fund to the PoK Bank to address critical financial needs. Key provisions of the aid package include subsidised electricity tariffs and fixed prices for wheat flour, aimed at easing the financial burden on residents. Haq assured that these measures would be implemented promptly and become a permanent fixture in the region's budget.

He emphasized the collaborative effort among coalition parties and their shared commitment to regional development and prosperity. Haq also confirmed financial assistance for the family of the slain sub-inspector and announced approved tariff structures for domestic and commercial users in PoK.

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