Three killed in protest clashes in Pakistan’s Kashmir

Three killed in protest clashes in Pakistan’s Kashmir
Three killed in protest clashes in Pakistan’s Kashmir

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Nevin Al Sukari - Sana'a - Three people were killed when paramilitary troops clashed with protesters in Pakistan’s Kashmir region yesterday, an official said, on the fourth day of demonstrations over rising costs. — AFP pic

MUZAFFARABAD, May 14 — Three people were killed when paramilitary troops clashed with protesters in Pakistan’s Kashmir region yesterday, an official said, on the fourth day of demonstrations over rising costs.

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Thousands of people have rallied since Friday, with more than 10,000 turning out on Monday despite government offers of financial support to the region.

The government sent paramilitary troops known as Rangers into the area on Monday and the internet was largely shut down.

“Three protesters have been killed, all of whom were shot, and currently there are eight reported injuries,” said Nadeem Janjua, a government official and deputy commissioner of Muzaffarabad, the capital of the region.

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A doctor at the Combined Military Hospitals in the city earlier told AFP on condition of anonymity that two people had died from gunshot wounds.

“Many Rangers were also injured but the data regarding that is yet to be compiled,” the doctor added.

Another doctor from the same hospital said: “One of the dead is a ninth grade student around 16 or 17 years old, and the other is in his thirties.”

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The prime minister for the Kashmir region on Monday said a police officer was also killed in the weekend violence and more than 100 injured, according to the government.

Chaudhry Anwar ul Haq said a financial package of subsidies for electricity and flour has been arranged.

Negotiations were ongoing, said Sardar Saqib Shaheen, a member of the Awami Action Committee union which is behind the protests.

“Some demands were met and some were not,” he told a press conference in Islamabad.

Asim Tariq, a 27 year-old student from Gojra Bypass where clashes broke out, said a tear gas shell entered his house.

“It affected my mother’s health and I could not take her to the hospital due to what was happening in the city. I was scared I might lose her.”

“They should not have shot at the protesters. We were just asking for our rights and got bullet shots in return,” added Muhammad Qasim, a 37-year-old shopkeeper.

The Himalayan region is divided between India and Pakistan, who both claim it in full.

The neighbours have fought two of their three wars over the territory, which is split by a de facto border known as the Line of Control.

Pakistani-administered Kashmir is a semi-autonomous region with its own regional government.

The country has recently suffered through a major financial crisis which saw imports blocked, inflation soar and the rupee plummet against the dollar.

However, inflation has steadily reduced and currency rate has stabilised, with the help of an International Monetary Fund agreements.

A team from the global lender is due to visit Pakistan later this month for talks on the latest deal. — AFP

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