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Earthquake victims rally in Azad Kashmir to seek help+
[April 22, 2006]

Earthquake victims rally in Azad Kashmir to seek help+

(Japan Economic Newswire Via Thomson Dialog NewsEdge)ISLAMABAD, April 22_(Kyodo) _ Victims of the deadly south Asian earthquake struck and rallied Saturday in several parts of Pakistan-administered Azad Kashmir, including the capital Muzzafarabad, to protest delays in compensation and provision of facilities.

Residents in Muzzafarabad said the strike called by Mutehheda Awami Mehaz, the United Peoples Front, alliance of religious and political parties to work for speedy rehabilitation and settlement of the earthquake victims in the hard-hit region.

"There was crippling strike in Muzzafarabad. All shops were closed and traffic remained suspended," a journalist in the city told Kyodo News by telephone.

There were also reports of strikes in other parts of the region, including the Jehlum Valley.

During a big rally in the capital, demonstrators chanted slogans against the Earthquake Rehabilitation and Reconstruction Authority and local administration for failing to pay compensation to quake victims.

The Federal Relief Commission set up by the federal government in the wake of the earthquake had paid 25,000 rupees ($416) per household in the earthquake affected areas, but the newly constituted ERRA has launched a new survey to decide the number of people entitled to receive compensation.

The victims have also demanded exemption from the payment of utility bills until they are rehabilitated in their houses under the plans laid out by the federal government.

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