AJK cabinet in 2 days: Attique
3 August 2006
Muzaffarabad: AJK Prime Minister Sardar Attique Ahmed Khan may announce his cabinet within two days as he has sorted the matter, one of his aides said on Thursday. The prime minister, who secured 35 votes in the 49-member house to clinch the coveted office, wanted to appoint 16 ministers and two advisers but the powers-that-be stressed on appointment of 12 ministers and two advisers due to which formation of cabinet was delayed, the aide choosing to be anonymous told Dawn. However, he said that disagreement on the strength of the cabinet had been resolved amicably and a cabinet of 14 ministers and two advisers would take oath within two days. On Wednesday, Sardar Attique also held a meeting with the commander of 10th corps in Rawalpindi during which formation and strength of the cabinet was also discussed, the source said. Delay in formation of cabinet also created some constitutional hitches for the PM who had passed a number of important orders after assuming the office. The main opposition, Peoples Party Azad Kashmir, is of the view that the prime minister cannot exercise executive authority in absence of a cabinet. “The interim constitution is very clear about what makes a government. And going by that I have no qualms about saying that at present there is no government in the AJK,” said leader of the opposition in the AJK assembly Sahibzada Mohammad Ishaq on Thursday. He was referring to section 12 of the constitution which says “The executive authority of Azad Jammu and Kashmir shall be exercised in the name of the president by the government, consisting of the prime minister and the ministers.” “There is no ambiguity in the constitution; though the prime minister is first amongst the equals, he alone is not the government,” Mr Zaffar said. However, when contacted by Dawn, a member did not agree on the perception that there was no government in the AJK. “The government came into existence after the swearing in of the prime minister. However, it is true that it cannot exercise its authority until ministers are appointed,” he remarked while requesting anonymity. A source said the prime minister had summoned a meeting of the Muslim Conference parliamentary party on Friday to discuss future policies of the new government with regard to peoples’ needs. Apart from the elected representatives, the premier has also invited MC ticket-holders (who lost the election) to the meeting.