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Situation remains tense in PoK

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Strike enters 4th day; Pak PM allocates Rs 23 bn grant to quell protests

Islamabad, May 13: The situation remained tense in Pakistan-occupied Kashmir as the total strike against high prices of wheat flour and inflated electricity bills and taxes entered its fourth day on Monday, forcing the Pakistan government to allocate Rs 23 billion for immediate release to the region to quell a simmering unrest.
The disputed region witnessed clashes on Saturday between the police and activists of a rights movement, leaving at least one police officer dead and injuring over 100 people, mostly policemen. A complete strike has also been observed in the territory since Friday, bringing life to a halt.
Pakistan Prime Minister Shehbaz Sharif, who said he was “deeply concerned” about the situation, on Monday approved Rs 23 billion for immediate release to the region after the negotiations between the protesters and the regional government ended in a deadlock.
Ruffled by the unexpected protest and its sensitivity, Prime Minister Sharif chaired a special meeting here on Monday which was attended by PoK “prime minister” Chaudhry Anwarul Haq, local ministers, and top political leadership, the PM’s Office (PMO) said in a statement.
Prime Minister Sharif approved the immediate provision of Rs23 billion to solve the problems of the people of PoK, it said.
Federal ministers and leaders of the coalition parties also took part in the meeting, where a detailed review of the situation was taken, it added. Kashmir leaders and all participants appreciated Shehbaz for his decision, the PMO said.
The protest is let by the Jammu Kashmir Joint Awami Action Committee (JAAC), which has traders at the forefront in most parts of the region, who have been seeking the provision of electricity as per hydropower generation cost in the region, subsidised wheat flour and an end to the privileges of the elite class. (PTI)

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