AJK Crisis Persists As Factions Claim Majority
3 March 2004
Islamabad: The Azad Kashmir government crisis continued unabated on Wednesday as both AJK Prime Minister Sardar Sikandar Hayat Khan and ruling Muslim Conference president Sardar Atique Ahmed Khan claimed a majority in the AJK Legislative Assembly. The AJK premier, who could not meet the GOC, Murree, in the past three days had a meeting with the Corps Commander, Rawalpindi, Lt-Gen Ashfaq Kiani on Tuesday to apprise him about the gravity of the situation. Out of a total 12 cabinet ministers, three, including finance minister Shah Ghulam Qadir, have so far handed over their resignations to the party's high command instead of the prime minister. It is not clear as to which group was wielding the majority support in the official parliamentary group of 32 MLAs, as no more resignations have come out as had been claimed by the Atique faction. One of the dissident cabinet minister, Shah Ghulam Qadir, met AJK President Sardar Anwar Khan on Wednesday while there were unconfirmed reports of Prime Minister Hayat and Muslim Conference president Sardar Atique having also met with the state president. Meanwhile, Sardar Sikandar Hayat Khan turned down party's president Sardar Atique's demand for convening treasury parliamentary party meeting to determine as to which group had a majority. Talking to newsmen at Kashmir House here on Wednesday, AJK premier Sardar Sikandar Hayat Khan said that the AJK president had accepted his request to summon the AJK Legislative Assembly on March 6, which could also serve as a platform to showing of strength by each faction. Sardar Sikandar said: 'It is not counting of sheep and goats and it is not necessary to call parliamentary party meeting just to please two persons.'