Opposition's move to disqualify Sikandar Hayat
19 June 2003
Our Staff Correspondent
MUZAFFARABAD: The opposition on Thursday submitted a reference before the Azad Jammu and Kashmir Legislative Assembly's Speaker Sardar Siab Khalid , seeking to disqualify Prime Minister Sardar Sikandar Hayat Khan for supporting the division of Kashmir for resolving the dispute between Pakistan and India. The reference was filed by People's Party Azad Jammu and Kashmir president Barrister Sultan Mahmood Chaudhry shortly before he told a ministerial team, who called on him in his chamber, that he would not retract his call for the siege of the assembly. The siege is scheduled to be staged on Saturday. Briefing journalists in this regard, Mr Chaudhry said that Sardar Sikandar Hayat had subscribed to the 'Chenab formula' - aimed at dividing Kashmir - for settlement of the Kashmir issue, whereas according to the interim constitution of the Azad Kashmir, the future status of the disputed state of Kashmir was to be determined in accordance with the freely expressed will of its people through a UN-sponsored plebiscite as had been envisaged in the UN resolutions. Accusing Sardar Sikandar of deviating from the ideology of Kashmir's accession to Pakistan, he said that under the AJK's interim constitution, the person taking over the office of the prime minister was bound to take oath before the president that he would remain loyal to the country (Pakistan) and the cause of accession of the state of Jammu and Kashmir to Pakistan. However, he said, by supporting the 'Chenab formula,' the prime minister had breached his oath thus stood disqualified, adding that viewed in this context the state was without a constitutional prime minister at the moment. Mr Chaudhry said that he had urged the Speaker to immediately refer the matter to AJK Chief Election Commissioner, under Section 25 1(A) (ii) of the constitution, so that the CEC could decide that 'Sardar Sikandar has lost the membership of the assembly.' Mr Chaudhry said he had told the ministerial team, headed by finance minister Shah Ghulam Qadir, that he would not retract his call but he would ensure that it did not turn violent. He said another resolution, expected to be tabled by party's senior member Sahibzada Ishaq Zafar on Saturday, would urge the federal government to quash cases against Benazir Bhutto and Nawaz Sharif besides urging it to allow them return to Pakistan. Sahibzada Zafar had earlier disassociated himself from Mr Chaudhry's call. However, after his press talk, Mr Chaudhry drove over to Bani Hafiz, the hometown of Mr Zafar to solicit his support. Meanwhile, in a related development, hundreds of PPAJK activists staged a token hunger strikes at the seven district headquarters of AJK on Thursday to express their indignation in this regard.