On February 13, Pakistan People’s Party (PPP) had organized a rally at the Government College Nayal ground in Kotli, around 215 kilometers from Muzaffarabad. It was going to be the ruling PPP’s first major rally ahead of the AJK elections in June.
According to the police report, Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz (PML-N) activists arrived at the venue in large numbers and started pelting stones at PPP workers. Eleven men belonging to the People’ Party were injured, and party activist Chaudhry Muhammad Munshi was killed.
Policemen fired tear gas at the crowd, but could not control it. Eventually, the military arrived, took control of the situation, and cordoned off the area. The injured, four of whom were in critical condition, were taken to hospital. A judicial inquiry into the incident was ordered.
The violence came two days after the appointment of AJK’s new chief election commissioner, Justice Ghulam Mustafa Mughal.
On February 15, the PPP observed a ‘Black Day’ in AJK, with hundreds of workers protesting against Munshi’s ‘murder’. A large group, led by AJK Prime Minister Abdul Majeed, marched towards the town’s central Abshar Chowk. A group of PPP workers chanted anti-PML-N slogans at Shaheed Chowk.
The president of the state was also angry. “PPP workers cannot be silenced with force,” Sardar Yaqoob Khan said. “Azad Kashmir will not be controlled by Lahore. The PML-N should not think they are conquerors, who can rule over our workers using their Gullu Butts,” said the AJK president, referring to the notorious mobster seen at the showdown between police and Tahirul Qadri’s supporters in the Model Town locality of Lahore in 2014. Vowing to avenge Munshi’s killing, Sardar Yaqoob Khan accused PPP rivals of ‘resorting to hooliganism’.
“They can see that a defeat lies ahead,” he told his workers. “Democracy is the best revenge, and we are aiming for a landslide victory in the elections.”
In Islamabad, opposition leader Khursheed Shah criticized the government in the National Assembly for its “undue interference in the AJK elections”.
“Even after having lived in exile, the dictatorial mindset of our rulers hasn’t changed,” he said in an emotionally charged speech. “Such use of force will only weaken the democratic institutions in Pakistan. If we had had a proper inquiry into the Model Town incident, the killing of the innocent PPP activist could have been averted.”
Federal Information Minister Pervez Rasheed said that the PPP leadership was ‘twisting facts’.
“PPP activists attacked PML-N workers and destroyed private property first. The Kotli incident was a reaction to that attack,” he said.
Eleven PPP workers were injured, and one was killed
The PML-N veteran blamed the AJK prime minister for the violence. “His provocative statements and failure to maintain security led to the clash,” he said.
On February 14, a day after the fight in Kotli, the PML-N demanded Prime Minister Abdul Majeed’s resignation. “Chaudhry Abdul Majeed has committed a grave crime,” said Asif Kirmani, a special advisor to Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif. He said Abdul Majeed had failed to protect people’s lives and property. “Instead of ordering a thorough inquiry on the incident, the AJK government is accusing the PML-N.”
The same day, the PPP organized a protest outside the Lahore Press Club. The protestors were carrying banners with very angry slogans. Some called Nawaz Sharif a murderer, others compared the PML-N to BJP.
“It is not uncommon for the PML-N to kill members of opposition parties,” said Samina Khalid Ghurki, PPP’s Lahore President. “PML-N ministers need to stop promoting violence and stop encouraging the use of weapons in Azad Kashmir. Otherwise, the situation may spiral out of control.”
PPP Punjab General Secretary Tanveer Ashraf Kaira said his party would no longer tolerate violence. One of the most popular chat sex 100% Free! There is no option to pay. Free adult chat rooms featuring sex chat rooms for everyone. Includes roleplaying, porn and image exchange live online chatrooms. Mobile and tablet ready. “The PML-N is creating anarchy in AJK. Militancy is always antagonistic to democracy,” he said. “If the PPP can support the PML-N against Imran Khan’s violent politics, the party is also perfectly capable of taking on PML-N’s militant politics in AJK.”
“Nawaz Sharif spearheaded torture against PPP workers, and even their killings, during General Zia’s martial law,” PPP Lahore Information Secretary Faisal Mir said. “And now he is going after PPP workers again. It is the same mindset.” He was skeptical about the judicial commission investigating the Kotli incident. He demanded the arrest of Farooq Sikandar, the son of former AJK PM Sardar Sikandar Hayat Khan. Farooq Sikander was nominated in the FIR of the Kotli clash.