AJK PM In Quandary Over Naming Cabinet31 July 2010
The News International
Islamabad: The newly-elected Prime Minister of Azad Jammu and Kashmir, Sardar Attique Ahmad Khan, finds himself in a tricky situation while finalising the list of the members of his cabinet, The News learnt here on Saturday. So far, playing with extreme caution, he has named only a senior minister: the finalisation of his cabinet team may take time in view of the ruling Muslim Conference’s somewhat polarised position, sources close to him conceded. Initially, the PM plans to announce a small cabinet to be expanded after some weeks, reading the unclear political scene, which has refused to fade away after he was thrown out as the premier in January 2009. Less than a year is left before the incumbent Legislative Assembly completes its five-year tumultuous term. But how the things will shape up in days and weeks to come on the political chessboard is a question which only time will answer. Some even don’t rule out the possibility of early elections. However, sources close to Prime Minister Attique said that the Muslim Conference would make sure that no more no-trust motions were filed during this short but critical period. Keeping in view this fact in mind, the Muslim Conference leader would try his level best not to annoy anyone while naming ministers and allotting them portfolios, they pointed out. The Legislative Assembly Speaker Shah Ghulam, Qadir, who had sided with the recently-resigned prime minister Raja Farooq Haider is also likely to be replaced shortly, but not before Premier Attique’s ministers take oath, it was learnt. AJK People’s Muslim League MLA Chaudhry Anwarul Haq, who played a key role in sending Haider home a few days back, could be Qadir’s replacement, a Muslim Conference source claimed and said Premier Attique wanted Chaudhry to become the speaker but was facing criticism within his party. This correspondent tried to take comments from the prime minister on the cabinet formation and the question of tabling a no-trust motion against the sitting assembly speaker, but he was busy in chairing a meeting. Similarly, ex-prime minister Haider also did not respond to the telephone calls. But apparently he is not prepared for reconciliation with Attique, whom he singled out as the main character behind his downfall. Haider has at least seven MLAs on his side and will sit on the opposition benches along with AJK PP and possibly Muttahida Qaumi Movement, sources close to him said. These parties had voted for Attique the other day. It is widely believed that early launch of AJK chapter of Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz might lead to desertions in the ruling Muslim Conference, particularly those who would find their names missing from the would-be cabinet.