PM Shehbaz visits AJK, meets leadership after protests rock region


Premier to also meet Hurriyat leaders of AJK

Prime Minister Shehbaz Sharif on Thursday arrived in Azad Jammu and Kasmir (AJK) for a day-long visit to meet the political leadership and address the members of the AJK cabinet.

This is the first visit by the premier to the region after it was rocked by violent protests over high electricity tariffs and wheat prices.

Prime Minister of AJK, Anwarul Haq, welcomed Shehbaz at the helipad upon his arrival.

Shehbaz 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 after the completion of the IMF team’s visit.

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

He expressed condolences over the death of civilians and police personnel during the protests and announced support for the grieved families under the Shuhada Package.

The premier while addressing the special cabinet meeting of the AJK asked his AJK counterpart to establish a committee for essential consultations with relevant Pakistani ministries regarding issues like water charge, Neelum Jhelum, and others for the benefit of the AJK people.

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 Syed Ali Murtaza and Minister for Kashmir Affairs Amir Muqam would discuss the matter with the Kashmiri leadership to formulate short, medium, and long-term solutions.

Furthermore, the premier acknowledged President Asif Ali Zardari, Kashmir Affairs Minister Amir Muqam, AJK PM, Speaker of AJK Legislative Assembly, AJK Chief Secretary, and IG Police for their constructive role and effective consultation to find an immediate solution to address people’s demands.

Shehbaz assured that the people of Pakistan always supported Kashmiris and raised their voices at international forums, exemplifying the Deputy Prime Minister and Foreign Minister Ishaq Dar’s address at the recently held OIC Summit in Gambia and its declaration highlighting the Kashmir issue.

He also emphasized the Indian atrocities in the Indian Illegally Occupied Jammu and Kashmir (IIOJK) and the suffering of Kashmiris in Tihar jail. He pledged Pakistan’s ongoing moral and diplomatic backing for the Kashmir cause.

The prime minister 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.

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