Uncertainty looms as Kashmir parliament fails to elect new PM

Jammu & Kashmir POK - Pakistan Occupied Kashmir

MUZAFFARABAD: The parliament of Azad Jammu and Kashmir (AJK) failed to elect a new prime minister on Monday, following the disqualification of Sardar Tanveer Ilyas by the regional high court in a contempt case.

Ilyas was removed after he indirectly accused the judiciary of hindering the functioning of his government and interfering in the executive’s domain through the grant of stay orders during a function in Islamabad over the weekend.

He specifically mentioned a $15 million Saudi-funded education project that had been put on hold due to a court-issued stay order, as well as the de-sealing of tobacco factories involved in tax evasion worth billions of rupees.

Subsequently, on Monday, despite the session beginning at 3:30 pm, it was adjourned without a new prime minister being elected.

The election was announced earlier, and the Pakistan Tehreek-i-Insaf (PTI), which holds a majority in the AJK Legislative Assembly, was expected to secure a candidate loyal to former prime minister Imran Khan.

However, AJK President Sultan Mehmood Chaudhry, a PTI member, has formed a forward bloc within the assembly, causing complications for the party. According to reports, the bloc has the backing of the Pakistan Peoples Party (PPP) and the Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz (PML-N).

Shah Ghulam Qadir, regional president of PML-N, said their alliance was with the PPP as per a “power-sharing formula,” adding that they would be obliged to vote for the PPP candidate if they proposed one for PM.

However, the PPP did not contact the PML-N during their negotiations with Chaudhry’s forward bloc, nor did the bloc reach out to them.

The PML-N leader noted that if the situation persists, his party, which possesses seven votes, will make its own decision. Nonetheless, reports suggest that Chaudhry contacted the PML-N after seeing Qadir’s response, seeking support for the forward bloc candidate.__Pakistan Today