Attique to be AJK PM If Muslim Conference wins
2 July 2006
The News International
Islamabad: Sardar Attique Ahmed has worked at a feverish pace to seek support of all power centres of Pakistan to remove all possible hurdles in his way to become prime minister of Azad Kashmir provided his party wins the July 11 elections in the state. He was taken to President General Pervez Musharraf by his father, Sardar Abdul Qayyum, the other day to get his blessings if his Muslim Conference comes out with an impressive electoral showing. There was no official word whether or not Musharraf stands behind the young ambitious Sardar. But an informed guess is that the president did not demonstrate any aversion to Attique if the Muslim Conference is victorious in the election to the Azad Kashmir Legislative Assembly. Before this, Attique had a meeting with Prime Minister Shaukat Aziz with the same objective of garnering his support. But there was no official word to the effect after the session as well. This followed Attique's separate and collective meetings with the Chaudhrys of Gujrat- Pakistan Muslim League (PML) President Chaudhry Shujaat Hussain and Punjab Chief Minister Chaudhry Pervaiz Elahi. They, however, made public their liking for him and his party. Like a shrewd and well- groomed politician that Attique is, the young Sardar has attempted to signal through these meetings a compelling message to Azad Kashmir voters and all others especially Barrister Sultan Mehmood that he is the man to be betted on this time. By meeting the Chaudhrys, he struggled to cool down their passion to support their Jat (Sultan Mehmood) brother. The incumbent Prime Minister, Sardar Sikandar Hayat, was going to put a formidable challenge to Attique, but he has been pushed out of the electoral contest by his aggressive and threatening young brother, who is hell-bent to fight from his home constituency of Kotli come what may. Like an elderly sagacious head of the family, Sikandar preferred to withdraw in order to save his home from confrontation and enmity. His brother is now in the race from the same constituency. Attique has now nobody in the Muslim Conference who can or will throw a gauntlet to his aspiration to be the man on the top after the elections. For at least twice in the past, Sikandar proved to be smarter by scuttling Attique's endeavour to become prime minister; once their fight led to the split of the Muslim Conference. Now Attique's main opponent in the party is himself announcing in election rallies being jointly addressed by the two that the young Sardar is the Muslim Conference's candidate for the office of the prime minister. Environment was never so favourable for him. But all his efforts that he has made to secure the support of the influential quarters of Pakistan would go down the drain if his Muslim Conference was beaten on July 11 by Barrister Sultan and other political parties of Azad Kashmir. When the elections are going to decide as to who would be the prime minister, mere backing of Pakistani centres would not suffice.