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Unity Through Shared Values:

Unity Through Shared Values: Flag Hoisting ceremony at Kohala Bridge, Muzaffarabad, Azad Kashmir.

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Unity Through Shared Values: Flag Hoisting ceremony at Kohala Bridge, Muzaffarabad, Azad Kashmir.

by (Qurat-ul-ain)

On May 16, 2024, a flag hoisting ceremony took place at Kohala Bridge, Muzaffarabad, Azad Kashmir, symbolizing unity and shared values. The presence of the crescent and star on both the flags of Pakistan and Kashmir serves as a reminder of the region’s illustrious history and the invaluable contributions of its ancestors.

The event highlighted the unity between the people of Pakistan and Azad Kashmir, emphasizing their commitment to peace, justice, and equality. Certainly, both the flags of Pakistan and Azad Jammu & Kashmir were raised in a formal parade of honor, demonstrating cooperation between the Pakistan Army and local civilians at Kohala Bridge, Muzaffarabad Azad Kashmir.

Jammu and Kashmir was a region in northern India that was granted special autonomy under Article 370 of the Indian Constitution. The flag of Jammu and Kashmir featured a red background with three white vertical stripes in the center and was used alongside the national flag of India to represent the state. The Azad Kashmir flag is a key symbol of identity for Azad-Kashmiris both at home and in the diaspora.

Kashmiris are a brave, honorable, and peace-loving nation with a strong brotherly relationship with Pakistan. Every Kashmiri agrees that during the protests, despite adverse weather conditions, their unity remained intact. On May 9, the flags of Pakistan and Azad Kashmir were taken down from the Kohala Bridge due to their dilapidated condition caused by a recent storm and rain. This necessary maintenance was misconstrued by some foreign elements as a sign of discord between Pakistan and Azad Kashmir, which is entirely false.

Contrary to it, the recent protest held in Kashmir on May 11 aimed to address issues such as reducing flour and electricity prices along with limiting the financial facilities at districts level for better allocation of funds towards development and construction of the areas. Azad Kashmir, with limited employment opportunities is still in the developmental stage, faces the pressing demand from its populace to prioritize spending restraint to mitigate unemployment and poverty.
This peaceful movement, led by the people of District 10, reflected their genuine concerns without any hidden agenda.

Due to severe weather conditions and a blinding storm, both flags sustained damage and required replacement. However, due to ongoing tests, they were unable to be hoisted, and in the same adverse conditions, the flags were displaced from their original positions. Claims of discord between Pakistan and Azad Kashmir due to the temporary removal of flags for maintenance on May 11th, were baseless. The flags hold deep significance, representing the shared identity and values of the region showcasing the strong bond with Pakistan.

Efforts to protect the rights of Kashmiris, both domestically and internationally, Pakistan remains the sole representative of Kashmir on all matters, entrusted with this responsibility by the people of the region. Overall, Pakistan’s significance towards Kashmir lies in its unwavering support, both politically and diplomatically, its commitment to security, its cultural and historical affinity, and its contributions to the region’s economic development and well-being.

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Funeral Prayers for Three Martyrs Amid Clashes in Muzaffarabad

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“Our lives begin to end the day we become silent about things that matter.” –
Martin Luther King Jr.

The funeral prayers for the three martyrs, amidst clashes between the Rangers and protestors, were conducted at AJK University Ground in Muzaffarabad, the capital of Azad Kashmir. Attendance at the event included thousands of people from 10 districts of AJK including Barrakot and Mansehra in KPK.

Protesters in Azad Kashmir have announced a shutdown and the observance of a ” black day ” on Tuesday, May 14, 2024, following the deaths of three young men and injuries to several others in clashes with paramilitary forces on the preceding evening. The protest convoy, led by the Jammu Kashmir Joint Awami Action Committee (JAAC), has been advancing towards Muzaffarabad since May 11, pressing for subsidized flour, reduction of electricity taxes, and curtailment of expenses on luxuries by the 53-member ministerial body governing a population of only 4 million in AJK. The aim is to reallocate funds for state development and rehabilitation.

However, on Monday, Pakistani Prime Minister Shehbaz Sharif approved a subsidy program of 23 billion rupees ($82 million), significantly lowering wheat and flour prices. Nevertheless, the violent confrontation by rangers entering from KPK, from Barrakot to Gojra in Azad Kashmir, raises concerns over the unrest in the region.

Amidst the chaos, there have been attempts to exploit the situation for political gains. While democratic discourse and peaceful protests are encouraged, any resort to violence and damage to public property is unacceptable. Reports suggest that the initially peaceful protesters were met with force by the rangers on May 11, resulting in casualties as 180 injured and 12 died in Muzaffarabad CMH fired by rangers on 13th May 2024.
There are claims of external financing of certain agitators, prompting the people of Azad Kashmir to focus on gathering evidence for subsequent action.

It’s crucial to understand that the protest is not against the state of Pakistan or advocating for independence; rather, it’s a plea to address the governance issues in Azad Jammu and Kashmir. The dissatisfaction stems from the lack of development and utilization of resources despite the region’s potential. Allegations of an Indian connection are merely attempts to divert attention from the core issues faced by Azad Kashmir, hindering its economic progress and overall development.

The resolution to the Kashmir issue lies not in coercion but in genuine engagement and resolution of the grievances of its populace. It’s imperative to heed their concerns and work towards building a prosperous and harmonious region, respecting the sacrifices made for its freedom

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Biden says US not to leave Pakistan alone in face of global, regional challenges

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US president also doubles down on commitment to support Islamabad in its efforts for recovery from economic losses of floods

(DAG US) On Friday, US President Joe Biden reaffirmed his commitment to stand alongside Pakistan’s new government in addressing the challenges confronting the nation and the wider region. This move signals a thaw in relations that had cooled amid controversies during Imran Khan’s tenure.

Biden conveyed these sentiments during his first diplomatic outreach to Prime Minister Shehbaz Sharif. In his letter, the US commander-in-chief stressed the importance of the partnership between the two nations in ensuring regional and global security.

Moreover, Biden highlighted shared priorities in areas such as public health, economic development, and education, affirming a dedication to progressing together. He also expressed Washington’s intent to bolster the alliance with Pakistan, particularly through initiatives like the US-Pakistan Green Alliance Framework aimed at environmental enhancement.

Biden’s letter stated, “The enduring partnership between our nations remains critical to ensuring the security of our people — and people around the world — and the United States will continue to stand with Pakistan to tackle the most pressing global and regional challenges of our time. That includes advancing our shared vision for a future of greater health security, economic growth, and access to education for all.”

Furthermore, he reiterated the commitment to support Islamabad in its efforts to recover from the devastating floods of 2022, emphasizing initiatives related to water management and agricultural development.

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