Prime Minister Shehbaz Sharif and Azad Jammu and Kashmir (AJK) Premier Sardar Tanveer Ilyas on Monday got into a verbal spat during a ceremony in Mangla.
PM Shehbaz addressed the inaugural ceremony of the refurbishment project of Units 5 and 6 of the Mangla Dam Hydroelectric Power Plant.
In a brief video clip that went viral on social media, Shehbaz — while he was about to conclude his speech — was seen gesturing and asking the AJK premier to retire to his seat.
In the background, Ilyas could be heard complaining to Sharif about not "making a mention of the sacrifices of the people of AJK”.
Here, Shehbaz again asked the AJK prime minister to sit down. "Please, listen to me [...] for Azad Kashmir, I will talk to you, Mr prime minister, please sit down, I will talk to you," he said and then continued his speech.
According to a witness, PM Shehbaz wrapped up his speech within the next 20 seconds and hurriedly left the venue. Ilyas made another attempt to convey to the premier his concerns, but to no avail.
Earlier in his speech, Shehbaz termed the assistance of the United States Agency for International Development (USAID) for the refurbishment of the units of Mangla dam as a “wonderful example of cooperation” between Pakistan and the United States.
He also said that prosperity comes with action, not by slogans and sit-ins.
"The journey to development cannot continue until there is political stability. Don't raise slogans but prove your performance to the nation by your actions," he had said, taking a jibe at the PTI.
Ilyas takes exception to 'insulting treatment'
During a press conference later, Ilyas regretted that the [office of the] prime minister of Pakistan did not take the AJK government or administration into confidence with regard to his arrival in the AJK territory for a function.
"Nevertheless, when I got the information, I flew into Mirpur from Muzaffarabad to receive the prime minister of Pakistan in my state,” he said.
Alleging that the body language and gestures of Shehbaz at the reception spoke volumes about his "irascibility", the AJK premier also took strong exception to the “insulting treatment” meted out to AJK’s senior administration officials at the venue of the inauguration ceremony.
He said he had no qualms about saying that PM Shehbaz had ridiculed the entire Kashmiri nation by not mentioning their sacrifices for the progress and prosperity of Pakistan.
“Ironically, while expressing gratitude to the whole world, he did not even put in a good word for the people of Mirpur who had submerged the graves of their near and dear ones twice for construction and raising of Mangla dam … Instead of offering anything to [Azad] Kashmir, he made announcements for other areas of the country,” he said.
Asserting that the Kashmiris considered Pakistan as “part of their faith,” he said the prime minister of Pakistan should have listened to their elected leader.