Kashmir: Locals sceptical over FC deployment in AJK

Jammu & Kashmir POK - Pakistan Occupied Kashmir

MUZAFFARABAD: Fed­eral Interior Minister Mohsin Naqvi on Sunday approved the deployment of Frontier Constabulary (FC) in Azad Jammu and Kashmir on the request of AJK premier Chaudhry Anwarul Haq, in a decision that raised eyebrows in the region in wake of recent deaths allegedly at the hands of a paramilitary force amid violent protests in Muzaffarabad.

The deployment decision comes on the heels of a warning by Joint Awami Action Committee (JAAC) that the activists of the rights movement would stage “peaceful sit-ins” at AJK’s entry and exit points with Pakistan if the authorities did not honour the pledges made to the alliance leadership and released the detained activists by June 25.

According to a press release issued by the AJK government, the meeting between Mr Haq and Mr Naqvi, held in the latter’s office in the federal capital, focused on the law and order situation and overall security in the valley.

Both leaders also discussed the political climate and the [AJK’s] upcoming budget for the new financial year, the press release added.

Ex-PM Niazi seeks debate on the issue in AJKLA; move comes as JAAC plans demos following expiry of June 25 deadline

“In response to a request by the Prime Minister, the federal minister approved the deployment of the Frontier Constabulary in Azad Jammu and Kashmir, assuring Mr Haq that all possible cooperation would be extended to maintain peace and improve security in the region.”

While renewing the government of Pakistan’s support for the progress and development of the AJK territory, the federal minister reiterated commitment to fulfilling promises made to the AJK people in this regard.

On his part, Mr Haq expressed his gratitude to the interior minister for taking immediate steps to add­ress the issues facing AJK.

However, the news of the deployment of the paramilitary force, which the AJK government has been asse­rting would be restricted to some important hydropower projects in the territory, was met with scepticism by many.

Debate in assembly

As the news was aired by TV channels, former AJK premier and PTI’s regional president Sardar Abdul Qayyum Niazi submitted a calling attention notice in the Legislative Assembly secretariat for a debate on the issue on Monday when the house would resume its sitting.

In the notice addressed to Speaker Chaudhry Latif Akbar, Mr Niazi said currently there was no law and order situation in AJK that warranted FC’s deployment in the territory. He recalled that the situation in AJK had become tense previously due to the deployment of FC and Rangers, among other factors, and a failed attempt was made to create a rift between the people of AJK and the people of Pakistan.

The AJK situation, he warned, would worsen with FC’s deployment.

While questioning what concerns were prompting the AJK premier to recurrently invite the FC to the state, Mr Niazi said that in his view it was essential that the House should hold a debate on this very important issue.

Sit-ins from tomorrow

On the other hand, a spokesperson for JAAC, Hafeez Hamdani, told Dawn from Mirpur, where its core committee meeting was in progress, that they had given the government June 25 deadline for the fulfilment of all of its demands.

The demands included the establishment of a judicial commission, comprising judge(s) of the AJK high court, to investigate all violent incidents, withdrawal of all cases against the activists and unconditional release of the detained persons.

“If the government fails to meet the deadline, people will peacefully march towards their concerned entry point on the given dates and stage a sit-in there,” he said, warning that any attempt to stop the peaceful march would result in an indefinite lockdown across the AJK.

Mr Hamdani said the JAAC core committee had decided to hold protest sit-ins on June 27, 28 and 29 at the entry points in Poonch, Mirpur and Muzaf­farabad divisions, respectively.__dawn.com