Kashmir: PTI lawmakers in AJK Assembly submit no-trust motion against own PM Niazi

Kashmir: PTI lawmakers in AJK Assembly submit no-trust motion against own PM Niazi

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In a dramatic move, as many as 25 PTI members in the Azad Jammu and Kashmir Legislative Assembly on Tuesday moved a resolution for a vote of no-confidence against Prime Minister Sardar Abdul Qayyum Niazi for his “failure to implement [the] party’s manifesto and ensure good governance” apart from other alleged shortcomings.

“A resolution to the vote of no confidence against Prime Minister Sardar Abdul Qayyum Niazi is being submitted under Article 18 of the AJK Constitution for the following reasons,” reads the hand-written document, a copy of which is available with Dawn.com.

“The prime minister has lost the confidence of the [PTI] parliamentary party for not implementing the party’s manifesto, for [resorting to] bad governance, nepotism and violation of merit, and for not highlighting the Kashmir issue,” it added.

Since the AJK Constitution makes it mandatory to name the successor of the premier in a no-trust motion, the movers named PTI’s regional president and senior minister Sardar Tanveer Ilyas as their choice for the coveted office.

The resolution was signed at the Islamabad residence of former federal minister Ali Amin Gandapur, following which cabinet members Abdul Majid Khan, Muhammad Akbar Ibrahim and Ali Shan Soni submitted it in the assembly secretariat in Muzaffarabad.

The PTI parliamentary party comprises 32 members, including PM Niazi.

As the news broke, it was assumed that the PTI lawmakers from AJK had switched loyalties from party chairman Imran Khan — hardly 36 hours day after his exit from the office of the prime minister of Pakistan — by attempting to overthrow his nominee in AJK, just eight months after his election.

However, Khawaja Farooq Ahmed, minister for local government and rural development, was the first to dispel that impression, claiming that the move had Khan’s blessing.

“Let it be clear to everyone that the no-confidence resolution in AJK Assembly has been submitted on the advice of and after approval from PTI Chairman Imran Khan to frustrate a move by PPP-PMLN nexus. We stand united under the leadership of Khan sahib,” he tweeted.

In August last year, Khan had taken everyone by surprise by naming Niazi as head of the PTI-led government in AJK despite the fact the latter was not among the list of the prime minister hopefuls.

Over the past eight months, discontent with Niazi had reportedly grown in the PTI parliamentary party as a number of members would even avoid attending official meetings convened by him.

“Honestly speaking, PTI lawmakers were unhappy and dissatisfied with the way Niazi had been running the government from day one,” Ahmed asserted.

Eventually, he said, Khan also realised the inevitability of Niazi’s replacement in the larger interest of the party and gave it the nod a few days ago.

According to Ahmed, Khan’s approval was conveyed to AJK Assembly Speaker Chaudhry Anwar-ul-Haq by PTI secretary general Asad Umar on Monday.

Asked why the resolution was moved hastily, Ahmed claimed that it was done to thwart a move by the 19-member opposition.

“Since PM Niazi had been fully accommodating the opposition lawmakers, the latter wanted to reciprocate his favours through an abortive attempt at no-confidence which would subsequently give him a lease until at least next six months,” he maintained.

‘Pack of lies’

Niazi was in Mirpur today to attend a function where reporters sought his comments on the movest him by his “own people”.

With a smiling face he responded: “This is a process in democracy, whether initiated by your own people or the opponents. Now let’s see what happens next.”

In a statement issued by his press secretary in the evening, Niazi strongly rejected the allegations levelled against him in the no trust motion as “unfounded, fabricated and a pack of lies”.

“This is a conspiracy against the PTI government in AJK and chairman Imran Khan should take its notice,” he said.

Niazi also listed what he described as his “historic achievements” in a short span of time and said he had felt anguished by the allegations.

Meanwhile, in a related development, Speaker Chaudhry Anwarul Haq today convened the assembly session to meet at 10:30 am on Friday to hold a debate and vote on the no-confidence motion.

According to Article 18(4) of the AJK Constitution, a no-confidence resolution has to be voted not before three days and no later than seven days from the day when it is moved in the assembly.

In the 53-member house, the resolution requires 27 votes to succeed.

Meanwhile, the combined opposition, comprising 12 legislators of PPP and seven of the PML-N, assembled at an Iftar dinner at the residence of PPP regional president Chaudhry Muhammad Yasin to informally mull over its course of action. However, they did not immediately issue any statement in this regard.__Dawn.com

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