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A police officer was killed in Pakistan-held Kashmir during protests against price hikes

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ISLAMABAD (AP) — A protest against rising costs of food, fuel and utility bills turned violent in Pakistan-controlled Kashmir, leaving a police officer dead and dozens of people injured, officials said Sunday.

Traders in some of the cities in Pakistan-controlled Kashmir pulled their shutters down on Saturday while protesters burned tires to express their anger.

A police officer was killed in Dadyal town, authorities said. Police have detained several demonstrators across Kashmir, which is divided between Pakistan and India.

Chaudhry Anwarul Haq, the prime minister in Pakistan-held Kashmir, said he was ready to consider the demands of the protesters but urged them not to indulge in violence.

Pakistan’s President Asif Ali Zardari on Sunday convened a meeting to discuss how to calm the protests.

Pakistan last year narrowly avoided a default on the payment of foreign debts when International Monetary Fund and several friendly nations came to its rescue by giving it loans. Pakistan’s monthly inflation rate at one point reached over 40%, but authorities say it had come down to 17% ahead of the talks with IMF for a new bailout. Pakistan plans to get at least $6 billion from IMF when it reaches a deal expected in the coming months.

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