Four politicians who served as prime ministers, including the incumbent Sardar Attique Ahmed Khan, are contesting the June 26 elections for Azad Jammu and Kashmir legislative assembly, while four other candidates are sons of former prime ministers or presidents, revealing what could be called dynastic politics beneath a veneer of democratic values.
Barrister Sultan and three other former prime ministers are contesting the upcoming polls: all have held the office of prime minister during the five-year tenure of the outgoing assembly which came into power after the 2006 elections.
Barrister Sultan is once again contesting on PPP’s ticket from his native constituency – Mirpur city. He rejoined PPP earlier this year. If the PPP wins the elections, Sultan Mehmood and two other PPP AJK candidates, Chaudhry Majeed and Chaudhry Yaseen, are among the strongest contenders for the post of prime minister.
After previous elections, Sardar Attique, who is the son of Sardar Abdul Qayum, a veteran leader of the Muslim Conference who served as the territory’s president several times, became the prime minister for the first time.
He was later removed after a successful no-confidence motion was backed by his own party members and Sardar Muhammad Yaqoob Khan became prime minister. He was replaced by Raja Farooq Haider of the Muslim Conference.
Later, Haider suffered the same fate and Attique again became prime minister again.
Sardar Attique, who is also the president of the Muslim Conference, is contesting from his native constituency Ghaziabad in Dirkot tehsil of Bagh district.
Sardar Yaqoob is contesting from Punch Sadhnoti, but this time on PPP ticket.
After being removed as the prime minister, Farooq Haider now heads the local chapter of the PML-N. He is contesting from Muzaffabad-III (city) and Muzaffabad –V, his native town.
Sardar Sikandar Hiyat Khan who served as both prime minister and president on MC platform has fielded his son Farooq Sikandar from PML-N ticket from their native constituency Kotli-II.
Faisal Mumtaz Rathor, who is the son of a late prime minister, Mumtaz Rathor, is contesting the polls on PPP ticket from Bagh-II, his father’s native constituency.
Sardar Khalid Ibrahim is the son of late Sardar Ibrahim Khan, a founding member of Muslim Conference. He also served the territory as both prime minister and president. He is in the run from Punch Sadhnoti-III constituency, where he will be facing Sardar Yaqoob.
Khalid Ibrahim heads a breakaway faction of PPP known as the Jammu and Kashmir Peoples Party.
Sardar Attique, the sitting prime minister of AJK, has fielded his younger son Usman Attique for Muzaffabad city constituency against Raja Farooq Haider of PML-N.
Sardar Qamar Zaman a former MC member and now PML-N candidate has also fielded his son.
Published in The Express Tribune, June 24th, 2011.