AJK PM sent packing over contempt

High court disqualifies Tanvir Ilyas over anti-judiciary statements; refuses to accept apology

Our Correspondent April 11, 2023
AJK Prime Minister Tanvir Ilyas arrives at the high court to face contempt proceedings. PHOTO: COURTESY TWITTER


The Azad Jammu and Kashmir (AJK) High Court on Tuesday disqualified Prime Minister Tanvir Ilyas from his position as a member of the legislative assembly and as premier on contempt charges.

The AJK Election Commission Secretariat issued a notification, stating: “Pursuant to the judgment dated April 11, 2023 passed by the Honourable High Court of Azad Jammu and Kashmir in Robkar Adalat vs Tanvir Ilyas, Prime Minister Govt of Azad Jammu and Kashmir, and sub-article (2) of Article 25 of the Azad Jammu and Kashmir Interim Constitution 1974, the Chief Election Commissioner AJK hereby issued notification of disqualification of Tanvir Ilyas as member AJK Legislative Assembly.”

It is “with effect from April 11, 2023 in consequence thereof the notification dated July 27, 2021 to the extent of declaring him as returned candidate from the AJK Legislative Assembly Constituency No LA-XV, Bagh-II stands rescinded with effect from April 11, 2023.”

On Monday, the superior courts of AJK served notices to Ilyas seeking an explanation about his position on derogatory remarks about the judiciary in speeches at public gatherings. The prime minister was asked to appear before the AJK High Court and Supreme Court on Tuesday.

Ilyas had accused the judiciary of affecting the work of his government and intervening in the domain of the executive through stay orders.

The AJK premier had claimed that a multimillion Saudi-funded education project was incomplete due to a court order. He also spoke against the court orders to reopen tobacco factories that were involved in tax evasion worth billions of rupees.

On Tuesday, the full bench of the high court pronounced the verdict, convicted him for statements against the judiciary and sentenced him.

The court took notice of Ilyas’ anti-judiciary statements and did not accept his apology.

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With Ilyas’s disqualification, the entire AJK cabinet now stands dissolved.

The move comes amid heightened political tensions across Pakistan due to the crisis relating to the elections in Punjab and Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa after assemblies in both the provinces were dissolved.

Ilyas, affiliated with the Pakistan Tehreek-i-Insaf (PTI), served as the premier of AJK for less than a year. He was elected unopposed as the 14th prime minister of the region on April 18, 2022.

After the resignation of Abdul Qayyum Khan Niazi as the AJK premier, Illyas had submitted nomination papers on behalf of the PTI which were declared valid by the assembly secretary.

PTI Chairman Imran Khan nominated Ilyas as the party’s candidate for the Prime Minister Office while the Pakistan Peoples Party (PPP) and the Pakistan Muslim League Nawaz (PML-N) had jointly fielded Chaudhry Yasin.

The united opposition boycotted the session for the election of the prime minister, leaving no candidate in the race against Ilyas wherein he secured 33 votes in his favour.

The first prime minister of AJK, Khan Abdul Hameed Khan, was elected on July 5, 1975. AJK has had a parliamentary system since 1985. Sardar Sikandar Hayat, Sardar Atiq Ahmad Khan, and Raja Farooq Haider Khan had twice held the office of AJK PM.


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