Pakistani Kashmir MPs 'elect New PM'

22 October 2009

MUZAFFARABAD: The legislative assembly in Pakistan-administered Kashmir on Thursday elected a new leader, bringing an end to week-long political uncertainty in the region, officials said. Twenty-nine of the house's 48 members voted for Raja Farooq Haider while his rival Sardar Yaqub Khan got 19 votes, speaker of the assembly Shah Ghulam Qadir said. Later, Haider was sworn in as the new prime minister of the Pakistani part of the divided Himalayan territory. Relations between India and Pakistan, which each rule part of Kashmir but claim it in full, have deteriorated since the Mumbai attacks last November that killed 166 people. India blamed the carnage on the banned Pakistan-based militant group Lashkar-e-Taiba, which is fighting New Delhi's rule in Kashmir. India and Pakistan have fought two of their three wars over Kashmir since independence from Britain in 1947. Uncertainty gripped Pakistani-controlled Kashmir after Haider's party, the Muslim Conference, said they would bring forward a vote of no-confidence against then prime minister Sardar Yaqub Khan, leader of the Peoples Party. Khan resigned before a formal resolution, however, saying the assembly in the state capital Muzaffarabad placed no trust in him.