AJK PM, President Agree To Iron Out Differences
15 January 2003
Muzaffarabad: AJK President Sardar Mohammad Anwar Khan and Prime Minister Sardar Sikandar Hayat Khan held a detailed meeting here on Wednesday and 'resolved to settle the differences between them and work in unison for the welfare of the people.' The much-awaited formal meeting between the two, which lasted for about two hours at the President House, was held after a gap of three months. The president and prime minister were on different wavelengths on several issues since long, but of late the discord had worsened to a serious level. This prompted the powers that be to intervene and make them sit together for reconciliation. The last formal meeting between the two leaders was held in Kashmir House Islamabad in the first week of October, in the presence of General Officer Commanding Murree, Maj- Gen Waseem Ashraf, when although the differences between them had become quite open, they were still at an initial stage. However, in the days ahead, the crisis deepened, with prime minister accusing the president of aspiring to exercise powers as were vested in the office of the chief executive (PM) under the Constitution. The president blamed the PM for misusing powers and making appointments as were not within his competence. The president was particularly annoyed over the appointment of the chairman and two members of the Public Service Commission, which were made by the government through the acting president, Speaker Sardar Siab Khalid, in September last year when the president was abroad. He was also critical of the PM's alleged moves to 'bring the Ehtesab Bureau under government's administrative control.' A handout, drafted by the chief secretary and issued by the directorate of public relations, claimed that 'the meeting was held in a very cordial atmosphere, during which a strategy to improve the working of the official machinery and better implementation of public welfare (projects) was devised.' The president and prime minister urged the public and political activists to maintain the atmosphere of harmony and unity in their ranks and continue efforts in collaboration with each other for the liberation of occupied Kashmir, development of Azad Kashmir and accomplishment of the goal of completion of Pakistan, the handout concluded. A spokesman for the president, when reached by Dawn for comments, said the meeting had vindicated the stand of the president regarding the accountability that it should be impartial and free from the control of the government.