ISLAMABAD - The opposition Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) and the ruling coalition on Tuesday entered into a war of words over the latter’s decision to seal the capital’s high rise shopping mall owned by Azad Jammu & Kashmir (AJK) Prime Minister Sardar Tanveer Ilays. Hours after facing criticism over social media, the Capital Development Authority (CDA) partially de-sealed the Centaurus Mall, which remained at the centre of controversy between the opposition party and the ruling Pakistan Muslim LeagueNawaz (PML-N) PTI linked the sealing of mall to the criticism of AJK Premier Ilyas over Prime Minister Shehbaz Sharif for “not mentioning the sacrifices of Kashmiri people” during his speech, a day earlier, at the inaugural ceremony of refurbishment project of Mangla Dam Hydroelectric Power Plant in AJK. Ilyas had interrupted PM’s speech and censured him by asking why he had not mentioned sacrifices of Kashmiri people in his speech? Chairman PTI Imran Khan took to twitter to express his reservations over the sealing of the mall and labeled the Pakistan Democratic Movement (PDM), an alliance of ruling parties, as the mafia. “Sealing of Centaurus Mall by the PDM mafia in response to PM AJK censuring Shehbaz Sharif for not mentioning sacrifices of Kashmiris shows there is law of the jungle in Pakistan for the last eight months,” he said. The move “sends negative signals to Kashmiris too,” he said and added, “Question for our honourable judges: Are they not upholders of the law?” Separately, PTI leader Fawad Chaudhry also claimed that the sealing of the mall was a result of Ilyas’ criticism of the premier. “First his car was stopped in Mangla after the ceremony and today, in Islamabad, his business Centaurus Mall was sealed,” he said. He added that such a fascist and non-democratic government has never come to power in Pakistan’s history. “If you are meting out this treatment to the AJK prime minister only for his criticism, what message are you giving to occupied Kashmir?” he questioned. He also said that the move of sealing the mall has given a bad message to the investors in the country.
PM vows to promote principles of freedom of expression, free media