Thursday February 09, 2023

CDA allows Islamabad mall to resume operations

PTI linked closure of mall to protest launched by AJK PM, who owns the mall, during PM Shehbaz's speech in Mangla

By Ahmed Subhan & Azaz Syed & Web Desk
December 06, 2022

A mall sealed by Capital Development Authority (CDA) for "violating" building regulations has been unsealed by the Islamabad district administration on Tuesday.

According to a notice put up on the mall's entrance, the CDA's building control department had sealed the mall for violating building regulations.

Following the action, businessmen had blocked Jinnah Avenue in protest, warning the authorities that they will shut down the city if the mall won't open.

Meanwhile, the PTI linked the closure of the mall to the protest launched by Azad Jammu and Kashmir (AJK) Prime Minister Sardar Tanveer Ilyas, who owns the mall, during Prime Minister Shehbaz Sharif’s speech in Mangla.

"Sealing of [mall] by PDM mafia in response to the AJK PM censuring Premier Shehbaz for not mentioning sacrifices of Kashmiris shows there is law of the jungle in Pakistan since last eight months," Imran Khan wrote on his official Twitter handle.

The PTI also claimed that the move "sends negative signals to Kashmiris" and was a question for the judges.

On the other hand, PTI leader Fawad Chaudhry also slammed the move.

“The AJK PM during [Prime Minister] Shehbaz Sharif’s speech stood on his seat and protested against Pakistan’s weak stance on Kashmir issue,” Fawad tweeted. He alleged that after the speech the AJK PM’s acts his car was stopped in Mangla as well.

“Such a fascist and undemocratic government has not come in the history of Pakistan, if such actions will be taken against the prime minister of AJK only on protest, then what message are you giving to the occupied Kashmir? What message are you giving to the investors in this country?” Fawad asked. 

He added that the economy will further go down with this action, and urged for the restoration of democracy.

In a tweet, Minister for Information and Broadcast Marriyum Aurangzeb berated the PTI chief, saying a person who had "failed" on several fronts, including governance and foreign policy, should refrain from lecturing the PM on the Kashmir issue.

A day earlier, AJK PM Sardar Tanveer Ilyas had interrupted PM Shehbaz during a speech for “not mentioning the sacrifices of Kashmiri people”.

The interruption occurred during PM Shehbaz's speech after Sharif's inauguration of the refurbishment project of units 5 and 6 of the Mangla Dam Hydroelectric Power Plant, built on the Jhelum river in Mangla.

Fire in Islamabad shopping mall

This is the same mall where a fire had broken out in its food court in October. However, the fire was quickly brought "under control".

In a statement, the Islamabad police said that people were rescued and safely evacuated from the backdoor of the mall — which was engulfed in smoke after the fire.

After the fire, the Islamabad Police sealed the building on the orders of the deputy commissioner.

It added that the mall's building would remain sealed until a probe into the matter has been carried out. Until then, entry into the building would remain prohibited to the public.

The mall was later opened to the public.

Even back then, AJK's prime minister's special assistant had alleged that they fear the inferno in the popular Islamabad shopping mall was a case of "political victimisation".

"It is feared that [federal government] is doing political victimisation in the light of the political situation," the AJK PM's aide said while referring to the conflict between the centre and the PTI, which has the government in the regional area.

— Thumbnail image of the private mall in Islamabad is taken from social media.