For Azad Jammu and Kashmir (AJK) Prime Minister Chaudhry Abdul Majid, it was like a bolt from the blue. It was virtually unthinkable that his own party colleagues would try to turn the tables on him. Two members of the Azad Kashmir Legislative Assembly (MLAs) from the ruling Pakistan Peoples Party (PPP), submitted a no-trust motion against him in a surprise attempt to bring an in-house change in the assembly on Monday.
But from the charge sheet against the premier it appears that resentment had been building up for some time. “Prime Minister Chaudhry Abdul Majid [has] failed to deliver [on his promise of] good governance, implement merit and root out corruption in government departments,” alleged the MLAs, Majid Khan and Muhammad Hussain Sargala, in the charge-sheet they submitted to the assembly’s secretary, Chaudhry Basharat.
They also claimed that Premier Majid had failed to highlight the lingering Kashmir dispute at the international level in accordance with the wishes of the AJK people. They alleged massive corruption in several developments projects, including Mirpur Greater Water Scheme, Jinnah Model Town Housing Scheme, Mirpur University of Engineering and Technology, Mirpur Development Authority and the construction of two medical colleges in the state.
The prime minister has failed to alleviate the sufferings of thousands of survivors of the 2005 earthquake as the infrastructure in the devastated areas is still in a shambles, the MLAs said in the charge-sheet which was submitted along with the no-confidence motion.
According to the Azad Kashmir Interim Act 1974, the AJK Legislative Assembly speaker has to summon a session within a week and ask the prime minister to prove his majority.
Sources told The Express Tribune that some parties in the assembly – Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz (PML-N), All Jammu and Kashmir Muslim Conference (MC) and Muttahida Qaumi Movement (MQM) – have promised to support Premier Majid’s possible successor Barrister Sultan Mahmood Chaudhry.
All Barrister Sultan needs is 25 votes to prove his majority in the 48-member house. The PML-N has 11 MLAs, MC has five and MQM has two. Barrister Sultan also enjoys the support of some of his party MLAs, including Majid Khan, Akbar Ibrahim, Muhammad Hussain Gargala, Chaudhry Arshad, Afsar Shahid, Akhtar Hussain Rubbani, Ali Shan Soni and Azhar Gilani. In a brief chat with The Express Tribune, Barrister Sultan claimed that 32 MLAs would support him in the assembly.
The incumbent premier, Chaudhry Abdul Majid, said the MLAs who submitted the no-confidence motion ‘stabbed him in the back’. However, the move was unacceptable for diehard workers of the PPP and he would “continue his fight for the rights of the people of AJK”.
At a hurriedly called press conference, AJK Finance Minister Chaudhry Latif Akbar, who is also the secretary general of the PPP, said that the ruling party has issued show-cause notices to Barrister Sultan and Abdul Majid for violating party discipline.
Published in The Express Tribune, July 23rd, 2013.