Cracks widen in AJK's coalition government

20 August 2009
The Dawn
Tariq Naqash

MUZAFFARABAD: Discord between the two components of coalition government in Azad Kashmir became visible on Thursday after the top leadership of the ruling faction of Muslim Conference (MC) vented anger on People's Party in the wake of allotment of an important portfolio to an unelected adviser. Chaudhry Mohammad Yasin, an adviser to the prime minister with the status of minister, was allotted local government and rural developmen on Wednesday, allegedly under pressure from some federal ministers. However, surprisingly, the relevant notification was not available anywhere in the Civil Secretariat, although it was supposed to be circulated to all public office holders. When contacted by Dawn, Prime Minister's Principal Secretary Dr Raja Arif Khan also maintained that he had not seen the notification. The allocation, however, sent shock waves in the ruling faction of the MC, led by Raja Farooq Haider, which held a meeting at the residence of Speaker Shah Ghulam Qadir to review its pros and cons. The closed door meeting attended by seven out of nine MC-(F) lawmakers lasted for nearly three hours, following which Mr Haider distributed a statement and answered questions by a group of newsmen. 'The appointment of unelected persons as advisers and allocation of the important portfolio of local government to an unelected adviser is a clear deviation on the part of the PPP-led central government from policy and decisions agreed upon (by all coalition partners) at the time of inception of the multi-party government,' read the statement, which also called for immediate sacking of unelected advisers. Apart from Mr Yasin, another adviser (special assistant) to the PM with the status of minister is Sardar Siddique Khan, who the MC-(F) says is also affiliated with the PPAJK. Meanwhile, when contacted, PPAJK secretary-general and Minister for Finance Chaudhry Latif Akbar asserted that the MC-(F) had itself violated the spirit of coalition government by taking some highly-controversial decisions ' 'constitution of PSC and reorganisation of the AJK Rural Support Programme to name a few.'