AJK opposition holds session at assembly sectt's doorway

12 March 2009
The Dawn
Tariq Naqash

Muzaffarabad: The opposition in Azad Jammu and Kashmir (AJK) Legislative Assembly held a 'session' it had requisitioned two weeks ago in the doorway of the assembly secretariat here on Thursday amid tense atmosphere after the speaker's refusal to entertain their requisition document citing alleged fictitious signatures on it. The 17 members of the opposition, who were led by Sardar Attique Ahmed Khan, president of his own faction of Muslim Conference, reached the assembly premises early morning where the staff of the leader of the opposition had made arrangements for the 'proceedings' by placing chairs and installing a sound system in the doorway. Around 150 Muslim Conference (Attique) workers had in the meanwhile gathered outside the main iron gates, 200 yards before the assembly building, chanting slogans in favour of Sardar Attique and Sharif brothers and against President Asif Ali Zardari. Heavy contingents of police, deployed in the area, prevented not only the MC (A) workers but also the mediapersons from going beyond the iron gates. After coming to know about it, Sardar Attique and his colleagues who wanted the media to cover their show returned to the main gates to persuade in vain the administration to permit at least mediamen beyond that point. As in the meanwhile, some MC (A) workers tried to force their way through the gates, the police resorted to baton charging, causing injuries to some of them, to disperse the mob. The police also lobbed teargas shells, compelling the opposition lawmakers to go back to the assembly building where they held the 'session' without media coverage. The 'session' was presided over by recently elected MC (A) legislator Sardar Sayyab Khalid during which nearly eight of the 17 participants delivered speeches and expressed their 'all out support to Sharif brothers while condemning their disqualification'. 'The session was prorogued by the chair till March 25,' Sardar Attique later told reporters at the main gates after reading out the text of the resolution passed during the 'sitting'. 'The democratic traditions and morality has been trampled in the Punjab by dislodging the government of the most popular and majority party and imposing the governor's rule. A similar exercise was carried out earlier in AJK by ousting the MC government through horse-trading to strike a deal (with India) on Kashmir issue,' the resolution said. Answering questions, the MC (A) chief said Pakistan was passing through the most testing times of its history because its rulers were 'pursuing foreign agenda'. He vehemently criticised President Zardari 'for bringing all ills to the country'. Interestingly, Sardar Attique had welcomed the candidature of Mr Zardari, notwithstanding his being a PPP nominee, in the presidential elections at a special LA session summoned for the purpose during his rule in AJK, which ended on January 6.