ISLAMABAD: A day after a verbal spat between Prime Minister Shehbaz Sharif and Azad Kashmir Prime Minister Sardar Tanveer Ilyas in Mangla, Special Assistant to the Prime Minister Attaullah Tarar on Tuesday accused Mr Ilyas of damaging the Kashmir cause to protect his business interests.
Speaking at a press conference with Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz (PML-N) Azad Kashmir president and former AJK Legislative Assembly speaker Shah Ghulam Qadir, Mr Tarar alleged that Tanveer Ilyas was running a housing scheme - Taj Residencia - without a no-objection certificate (NOC) and wanted to pressurise the federal government to secure it.
He said Centaurus Mall in Islamabad had been issued four notices before the building caught fire over violations and not following the building plans.
Speaking on the occasion, Shah Ghulam Qadir sought an apology from the AJK prime minister for misbehaving with Prime Minister Shehbaz Sharif and harming national interest, warning that a protest campaign would be launched against him after the third phase of the local government elections in Azad Kashmir scheduled for Thursday (Dec 8).
Dozens of PTI supporters protest in Muzaffarabad
He said the AJK prime minister was trying to poison the minds of the younger generation in Azad Kashmir against Pakistan, which he added would only benefit India. “Are you trying to appease Modi,” he asked.
Mr Qadir regretted that the effigy of Prime Minister Shehbaz Sharif was set ablaze in Muzaffarabad on Tuesday, adding that the Kashmir issue was all about the struggle for Kashmir’s accession to Pakistan. Rejecting PTI’s claims of sweeping local government polls, the PML-N Azad Kashmir president said the Pakistan Democratic Movement (PDM) had collectively bagged more seats.
He claimed that the mayor of Muzaffarabad would be from the PML-N while the vice chairman of Muzaffarabad District Council would be a joint candidate of PML-N and PPP-AJK.
He predicted that the same would happen in the district councils of Neelum, Rawalakot, Haveli and Palandari.
He claimed that around 20 members of the AJK Legislative Assembly were ready to play their role in getting rid of Tanveer Ilyas, but the PML-N and PPP leadership had restrained such a move.
Meanwhile, dozens of ruling PTI workers in Azad Jammu and Kashmir (AJK), including many newly elected councillors, assembled at a bustling roundabout here on Tuesday to vent anger at Prime Minister Shehbaz Sharif for “insulting” their leader and state premier Sardar Tanveer Ilyas at a function in Mirpur the other day.
The demonstrators also torched an effigy of Mr Sharif on the road which they had blocked for the traffic by placing and later igniting used tyres amid slogans against the “imported regime” and its chief executive.
PTI leader and Development Authority Muzaffarabad (DAM) chairman Azhar Gillani regretted that PM Sharif had made the Kashmiris’ heart bleed by “ignoring their role for the progress and stability of Pakistan on the one hand and purposely humiliating their elected leader [PM Ilyas] on the other.”
Referring to the sealing of Centaurus Mall, he said it had proved that “how low the regime could stoop to avenge its opponents.”
Speaking on the occasion, PTI’s regional general secretary Raja Mansoor said that the “imported prime minister of the imported regime” had in fact attacked the identity, dignity and honour of the state.
“We invite every son of the soil to come out to cast aside the policies of the present government in Islamabad,” he said, vowing that the protests would continue until Mr Sharif apologized to the Kashmiris.
Separately, at a press conference, Tauseef Abbasi, another PTI leader, announced that PTI workers would stage a demonstration at Kohala and block the bridge connecting AJK territory with Pakistan on Wednesday to condemn the PDM led federal government’s “vindictive actions against PM Ilyas.”
Meanwhile, in a statement, AJK’s senior minister Khawaja Farooq Ahmed reminded PM Sharif that he was not visiting Mirpur to address PML-N workers but an event in a project which had come into existence only after Kashmiris had agreed to abandon their homes and hearths for the prosperity of Pakistan and was therefore obliged to take the AJK government on board.
In a video message former AJK premier and PML-N leader Raja Farooq Haider censured Wapda as an “imperialist institution” and said that the insult of the AJK PM on its part could not be ignored notwithstanding the latter’s affiliation with the PTI.
Published in Dawn, December 7th, 2022