AJK PM to expand cabinet to avert likely no-trust motion against him

'SC's decision to disqualify Sharif for life has hastened the PM to induct disgruntled party MLAs in his cabinet'

M A Mir April 13, 2018
Sources say SC's decision to disqualify Sharif for life has hastened the PM to induct disgruntled party MLAs in his cabinet. PHOTO: EXPRESS/FILE

MUZAFFARABAD: The Azad Jammu and Kashmir (AJK) cabinet is likely to be expanded for the second time since the Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz (PML-N) government came into power in 2016 general elections in the state.

According to reliable sources, Prime Minister Raja Farooq Haider Khan has decided to induct eight more ministers in the cabinet, taking the total strength of the members of his council of ministers to 20.

The decision was taken following the lifetime disqualification of former prime minister Nawaz Sharif by the Supreme Court earlier today, hastening the AJK PM to expand the cabinet to avert a possible no confidence motion against him by a group of disgruntled legislators within his own party, sources said.

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Raja Farooq Haider Khan, after assuming the office of prime minister of Azad Jammu Kashmir in July 2016, had announced to keep a ‘clean, efficient and small’ cabinet as a part of his vision of good governance in the state.  Initially he formed a nine-member cabinet, but later he had to expand the cabinet by inducting three more ministers the same year.

The prime minister has been facing a stiff opposition from some of the legislators among the 32-member parliamentary party for a berth in the cabinet.

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However, PM Khan has so far been successful in sustaining the pressure from legislators with support and blessing of the PML-N government in Islamabad, particularly from deposed PM Nawaz Sharif.

Now with the disqualification of Nawaz Sharif for life, the AJK prime minister has been left with no option but to appease dissidents by inducting eight more ministers in his cabinet to keep the parliamentary party intact and to save his government.

Those who are likely to be inducted in the cabinet are Muhammad Ishaq, Ahmed Raza Qadri, Raja Muhammad Siddiq, Jawed Akhtar, Raja Naseer, Raja Abdul Qayyum Khan, Yaseen Gulshan and Chaudhry Masood Khalid.

They are likely to take oath of their offices in next 24 hours. AJK President Sardar Masood Khan will administer oath to the ‘newly-inducted ministers’.


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