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Prime Minister’s Grant Addresses Rising Tensions in Pakistan-Ruled Kashmir

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Image Credit: Anadolu Ajansı

In a move to address escalating tensions and unrest in the Pakistan-ruled Kashmir region, Prime Minister Shehbaz Sharif sanctioned a grant of 24 billion rupees ($86 million) on Monday. This decision follows days of violent protests sparked by concerns over rising inflation.

According to local government official Shah Nawaz, the recent protests have resulted in one police officer’s death and over 90 injuries as thousands clashed with law enforcement over the weekend. The region has witnessed widespread disruptions, with businesses shuttered and transportation services halted for the fifth consecutive day.

The protests have been spearheaded by a coalition of civil rights organizations demanding government intervention to alleviate economic hardships, particularly by subsidizing electricity and wheat prices in response to soaring inflation rates.

While the statement from Prime Minister Sharif’s office did not provide specific details on the allocation of the grant, Kashmir’s Prime Minister Anwar-ul-Haq Chaudhry later clarified that the funds would facilitate the extension of subsidies in the region. Notably, the subsidized rate for 40 kilograms of flour will be reduced to 2,000 rupees from 3,100 rupees, with significant reductions also announced for electricity prices.

Chaudhry emphasized that these measures represent a permanent solution to address the economic challenges faced by the region.

The timing of the protests coincides with a visit from the International Monetary Fund (IMF) mission to negotiate a new long-term loan agreement with Islamabad. The IMF had previously cautioned about significant downside risks to Pakistan’s economy, prompting urgent discussions to stabilize the financial situation.

Despite inflation slowing to 17.3% in April, below government forecasts, concerns persist regarding the country’s economic trajectory. Inflation had peaked at a staggering 38% in May of the previous year, underscoring the severity of the economic challenges faced by Pakistan.

Meanwhile, demonstrators, who initiated protests on Thursday, have continued to gather, with a significant presence observed in Dhirkot town in Poonch district. Deputy Inspector General of Police Shehryar Sikandar confirmed the ongoing demonstrations, highlighting the protesters’ determination to march towards Muzaffarabad, the region’s capital, if their demands remain unmet.

With thousands participating in the protests, law enforcement authorities have adopted a cautious approach, refraining from confrontations. Shaukat Nawaz Mir, a leader of the alliance behind the protests, attributed the escalation to the use of force by police against peaceful demonstrators.

As tensions persist in the Kashmir region, the approval of the substantial grant reflects the government’s efforts to address the grievances fueling the unrest. According to a ground-breaking study, binary stars may be slowly torn apart by vast clusters of invisible dark matter traveling through space. This finding sheds light on the mysterious properties of this material.

As reported by Reuters in their recent article  

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