ISLAMABAD: A political crisis triggered by the tabling of a no-confidence motion against the prime minister of the Azad Jammu and Kashmir (AJK) intensified on Sunday after 18 ministers tendered resignations to AJK Prime Minister Raja Farooq Haider.
Separately, Haider moved to announce the formation of Nawaz League just after the return of PML-N leader Nawaz Sharif to Pakistan.
Earlier, the general council of the Muslim Conference, which met in Islamabad at the Kashmir House, empowered Haider to take “any decision he deems appropriate, including the formation of PML-N”. Online news agency quoted Haider as saying that although he had powers to dissolve the AJK assembly, he had not used them. “If the (no-confidence) motion succeeds, I will walk (my way) home,” the AJK prime minister said, adding that interference in Azad Kashmir had intensified. He also said that he would start his new political career in “consultation with PML-N chief Nawaz Sharif”.
According to Haider, federal Information Minister Qamar Zaman Kaira has acknowledged he was “doing well” while Minister for Water and Power Raja Parvez Ashraf had also termed him adequate.
Meanwhile, Kaira has termed Farooq Haider’s allegations against President Asif Ali Zardari unfounded and baseless. According to media reports, the federal minister said that Haider had initiated the campaign against the president without “any provocation in a bid to gain cheap popularity, which he had lost because of his wrong policies in Azad Kashmir”.
APP quoted Kaira as saying that the AJK premier “just wants to hide his incompetence.” Accusing Haider of not governing Azad Kashmir in accordance with the wishes of the masses, Kaira said that the PPP government should not be held responsible for the dissolution of AJK government. “There is nothing illegal about the involvement of the federal government in AJK affairs.”
At the Kashmir House, Haider accused Sardar Atiq to be the one who had “killed Muslim Conference” and said that members of his faction were not ready to go along with him. “I will not allow corruption in the assembly nor will I allow anyone from Muzaffarabad to devour Mirpur’s rights.”
Blaming Atiq for continually “disturbing the region’s political atmosphere”, Haider praised Shahbaz Sharif and the entire PML-N leadership for providing support.
The meeting was also addressed by Speaker of the Legislative Assembly Shah Ghulam Qadir, Minister for Local Bodies Raja Naseer, Minister for Forestry Sardar Naeem, Food Minister Shaukat Ali Shah, Finance Minister Raja Nisar Ahmad, Agriculture Minister Maj (retd) Mansaf Dad, former minister Sardar Tahir Anwar, Chairman of the Implementation Commission Sardar Altaf and president of the AJK Supreme Court Bar Association Mirza Zafar.
Participants were, however, stopped from raising slogans against the leadership of Sardar Atiq by the AJK prime minister and the ministers.
During the meeting, it was decided to set up the PML-N chapter in the region immediately “to get rid of betrayers and disloyal elements”. The participants also viewed the no-confidence motion as “a move to stab the Muslim Conference in the back”.
According to a press statement issued by the Kashmir House, Nawaz Sharif has decided to reach Islamabad directly from Duabi on Monday, July 26.
The voting on the no-confidence motion is likely to be held on the same day.
Published in The Express Tribune, July 26th, 2010.