Attique terms his ouster ‘aggression’ by centre

7 January 2009
The Dawn
Tariq Naqash

Muzaffarabad: Former AJK Prime Minister Sardar Attique Ahmed Khan on Wednesday accused the PPP-led federal government of launching “naked aggression” in the country’s most sensitive region. The allegations were, however, rejected as “blackmailing tactics peculiar to Dhirkot’s political family” by one of his key opponents, Barrister Sultan Mahmood Chaudhry of People’s Muslim League, at a press conference held shortly afterwards. Sardar Attique spoke to media at the prime minister’s official residence before leaving for Rawalpindi and castigated the PPP for “creating instability in the sensitive region of AJK despite the fact that such a policy was inimical to national interests. ”Democracy has been slaughtered in the AJK and I am a casualty of the federal government,” said the former premier who was flanked by nearly a dozen MLAs and a large number of party workers. “After me, there is turn of Nawaz Sharif and Shahbaz Sharif…The PPP is now out to conquer the Punjab,” he said. He alleged that the party had a history of launching aggression in the AJK after coming to power in Islamabad and said “I thought this party must have leant lessons from the past but (as I see now) there is no change in its attitude.” He announced that he would tour the country to “unearth conspiracies and repercussions of the actions of the PPP government in AJK.” Weakening the “defence unit” (AJK) amounted to benefiting India, he said, and called upon Sharif brothers and other democratic forces in Pakistan to take its stock. When questioned if the federal ministry of Kashmir affairs should be abolished in view of his allegations, he said the ministry was not an issue but the federal minister (Qamar Zaman Kaira) was who had “disgraced this ministry.” He warned that interference in AJK would cost dearly to the federal government. “They will have to pay its price. Muslim Conference will chase the thieves to their safe havens. I will take this case to the court of people of Pakistan,” he said. He could not give a plausible answer when asked why he criticised the federal government when he had himself been openly supported by Pervez Musharraf-led regime. Asked if he realised that mistakes on his part had compelled his party fellows to form the forward block, Sardar Attique admitted he might have committed mistakes but that, he said, was due to his “rapid pace.” PML chief Barrister Sultan Mahmood said in comments on the allegations that the federal government had nothing to do with the political change in AJK. It (change) had been brokered by all those lawmakers who sincerely wanted to rid the state of a corrupt regime, he added. “In fact it was the corruption, bad governance and other innumerable misdeeds committed by Sardar Attique that led to his ouster. His allegations are aimed at blackmailing the federal government in a fashion that is peculiar to his family,” he said. Flanked by three MLAs of his party, he recalled that he had been seeking Sardar Attique-led government’s ouster since the day it was formed and he was associated neither with the previous nor with the present federal government. “A person who owes his power to rigged elections and manipulation by military regime has no right to point fingers at others,” he said. In response to a question, Mr Mahmood said although he had been demanding fresh elections, he would, however, like the new government and assembly to complete the term. “We would extend full cooperation to the new government to help it resolve the problems confronting this region,” he said. Mr Mahmood who is reportedly close to Sharif brothers disclosed that he had consulted Mr Nawaz Sharif before his party’s support for the no-trust motion.