“Political wrangling postpones election of new leader in Azad Jammu and Kashmir Legislative Assembly”

Political wrangling postpones election of new leader in Azad Jammu and Kashmir Legislative Assembly
Political wrangling postpones election of new leader in Azad Jammu and Kashmir Legislative Assembly
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An important session of the Azad Jammu and Kashmir Legislative Assembly to elect a new leader of the House on Monday was adjourned until Tuesday after a brief sitting. The election was postponed due to political wrangling in the region. The election comes a week after PTI’s Sardar Tanveer Ilyas was disqualified as the region’s premier for contempt of court.

The session was earlier scheduled to begin at 11 am on Monday but was delayed until 3:30 pm. The session was presided over by Speaker Riaz Ahmad, who adjourned the session until 11 am on Tuesday without conducting the election.

The Imran Khan-led PTI is considering the names of Khawaja Farooq, Azhar Sadiq, and Anwarul Haq, but it is yet to reach a consensus on one name. However, the PTI’s chances of recapturing the top slot in the AJK Assembly are slim due to a forward block announced by AJK President Barrister Sultan Mahmood. The Barrister group has recommended the names of Chaudhry Mohammad Rasheed, Chaudhry Ikhlaq, and Malik Zafar for the post.

Meanwhile, it is expected that the joint opposition would throw his weight behind the PTI’s forward block to defeat Imran Khan’s candidate. Sources said the dissidents had received the green signal from the opposition, but a formal statement is yet to come.

If the opposition and Sultan Mehmood group strike a deal, their count in the legislative assembly will surge to 26, while 27 votes are required to win the PM seat. In this situation, the vote of the Muslim Conference’s Sardar Ateeq Ahmed holds great importance.

On April 11, the Azad Jammu and Kashmir (AJK) High Court disqualified Tanveer Ilyas Khan from holding any public office after he was found guilty of contempt of court. A full bench announced the verdict in a contempt notice taken after he criticized the stay orders issued by the court at a public meeting. The former premier had also appeared before the court and tendered his unconditional apology over using contemptuous remarks against the judiciary.

However, the bench turned down his apology and disqualified him as AJK prime minister and revoked his membership of the AJK assembly. He is the first AJK prime minister to have been sent packing by the court.

Senior minister Khawaja Farooq Ahmed is currently serving as acting prime minister of the Azad Jammu and Kashmir after Sardar Tanveer Ilyas was dethroned. Despite the PTI holding the majority in the AJK Legislative Assembly, its path to secure a candidate for the premier’s post may get difficult due to the divide among its own lawmakers.

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