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Centaurus Mall set on fire amid alleged political victimization of AJK PM

AJK PM Sardar Tanveer Ilyas is from PTI. Therefore, it is being considered that the inferno in the popular Islamabad shopping mall is a case of "political victimization".

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In a major development, it is being considered that the Centaurus mall in Islamabad was set on fire to politically victimize its owner, the Prime Minister of Azad Jammu & Kashmir (AJK), Sardar Tanveer Ilyas.

AJK Prime Minister’s special assistant said that they fear the inferno in the popular Islamabad shopping mall is a case of “political victimization”. Pertinent to mention that Sardar Tanveer Ilyas belongs to PTI.

“It is feared that [federal government] is doing political victimization in the light of the political situation,” the AJK PM’s aide said while referring to the conflict between the center and PTI, which has government in the regional area.

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He claimed that the federal government “wants to make it a bigger incident than the Model Town fire”, accusing PM Shehbaz Sharif and Interior Minister Rana Sanaullah of involvement in the mall fire.

The mall has been sealed and will remain prohibited to the public until a probe into the matter has been carried out. On the other hand, AJK Food Minister Ali Shan, while expressing solidarity with the AJK premier, warned that they will stage a sit-in if the mall is not reopened.

Fire in Islamabad’s Centaurus Mall

On Sunday, a blaze erupted in Islamabad’s famous shopping mall Centaurus. The fire started in the food court. However, the fire was put out after two hours of frantic work with no reported casualties. The PAF and Pakistan Navy both contributed personnel to the firefighting effort.

Prime Minister Shehbaz Sharif also took notice of the incident and said he had ordered relevant institutions and authorities to take immediate action.

“It is very unfortunate that this incident happened in Centaurus Mall. Condolences and sympathies for the financial losses of the victims,” he tweeted.

While the fire was extinguished completely within hours and no casualties were reported due to the timely evacuation by the rescue teams and Islamabad authorities, the mall’s administration has alleged that the district administration delayed extinguishing the fire. They said that the machinery brought by the district administration was faulty. The administration officials also alleged that the district administration showed derogatory behavior when they drew attention to the delay in extinguishing the fire.

Read more: Why the people of AJK put their confidence in PM Khan’s PTI

The mall’s administration has decided to approach a court over the matter. Moreover, a case over the fire incident was registered at Margalla Police Station on behalf of SHO Mateen Chaudhry under Section 436. The FIR stated that the unidentified men set the shopping mall ablaze under unknown motives.