AJK PM determined to defeat no-trust move

9 November 2008
The News International
Not Sepcified

Islamabad: Azad Kashmir Prime Minister Attique Ahmad Khan is prepared to face any no-trust move but will not bow out simply on a demand of the opposition, The News learnt here. On the other hand, opposition sources claimed that they were planning a collective line of action to send the government packing through an in-house change. A senior leader of an opposition party, requesting anonymity, said that 16-17 lawmakers belonging to the ruling party Muslim Conference now stand with the opposition. However, what we have not been able so far to evolve is a consensus name to replace the sitting prime minister, he conceded. As per the rules of the game, before moving a no-trust motion, the opposition is required to propose a name who could take the sitting PMs place after his ouster. In reply to a question, he pointed out that within the Muslim Conferences forward bloc, there were at least two aspirants for the prime ministerial slot. He added that consultations were on among opposition parties, but no decision has yet been taken when to formally go for the proposed move. Of late, the AJK government of Attique Ahmad Khan has faced allegations of corruption, which he has out rightly rejected as baseless. Attique formed government on July 24, 2006 following the elections on July 11. Some opposition groups had described the electoral process as rigged. An opposition party had also issued a white paper on alleged rigging and then on corrupt practices of the sitting government. To another question, he claimed that the combined opposition had around 32 members on their side in a house of 49 lawmakers, whereas they need just 25 for the no-trust motion to succeed. He also agreed that because of the seething difference of opinion among opposition parties, Prime Minister Attique was so far comfortably placed. When approached for comments, Prime Minister Attiques spokesman and press secretary Afaq Shah played down the oppositions initiative and said he did not believe the opposition was in a position to threaten the government. However, it is their democratic right to go for such a move. We are democratic people and will deal with any such thing democratically, he maintained. He also dismissed the oppositions claim of having won the support of at least 16 legislators of the ruling party, saying that had it been true, they would have long ago moved the motion in the legislature. Similarly, he referred to a reported statement of Federal Minister Qamaruzzman Kaira that working relationship existed between the Centre and the Azad Kashmir government. When his attention was drawn to a statement of the minister that the days of Azad Kashmir government are numbered, he believed it was a twisted statement with ulterior motives. He also rejected the impression created by the opposition that the prime minister has offered to hold mid-term elections in April next year, if the opposition sat quiet.