Crisis in AJK as Finance Minister also resigns
26 February 2004
Lahore: Grave political crisis has gripped Azad Kashmir as the Finance Minister Shah Ghulam Qadir, who is also the ruling party's secretary general, Thursday tendered his resignation following two other cabinet colleagues. The two other AJK Ministers Chaudhry Tariq Farooq and Chaudhry Masood Khalid had resigned on Tuesday from their offices due to differences with Prime Minister Sardar Sikandar Hayat Khan. Finance Minister Shah Ghulam Qadir who is the central leader of AJK Muslim Conference handed over his resignation to the ruling party supreme head Sardar Abdul Qayyum Khan and according to wellplaced sources more resignations were in the pipeline which had created a serious political crisis in Azad Kashmir. Talking to The Nation the AJK Finance Minister said that he had resigned due to the government's inability to address the problems of party workers and other people. However, he added as the party's secretary general he would play his role to address the issue in an amicable manner. Muslim Conference's another important leader Syed Shaukat Ali Shah resigned on Wednesday from the office of Chairman Ulema and Mashaikh Commission. All these resignations from the top party leaders had forced the Prime Minister to initiate legal consultations on future possibilities with different options on cards including dissolution of Legislative Assembly as well as invitation to the opposition party, PPP (AJK) to join him in the government,' sources said. Sources said that the Prime Minister also send his close aides to party supreme head Sardar Qayyum and Sardar Attique but all these contacts had proved to be an exercise in futility and the political crisis was deepening with every passing day. Sardar Attique on Thursday morning met the top army officials in Murree and discussed with them the political crisis in detail. He informed them about his point of view on the matter and assured that he would try his level best to address the issue, sources said. Sources said the army officials were also likely to arrange meeting with AJK Prime Minister in the next couple of days to have his point of view on the issue. However, they said that any patch up between the estranged ministers and the Prime Minister would prove to be a daunting task as the leaders who had resigned had been strictly adhering to their demand of Sardar Sikander Hayat's resignation from the Prime Minister office. Talking to The Nation Sardar Attique said that as a party head he would play his due role to address the issue as well as the grievances of aggrieved ministers and party workers. He added that he fully respected Sardar Sikander Hayat as he was a seasoned political leader and he had no personal differences with him. He, however, said that the Muslim Conference Parliamentary Party would not be put under trial and the issue would be resolved in a congenial way and all party leaders would exhibit the same spirit with which the Muslim Conference government was formed. Sources said that in the next couple of days the fluid political situation would become clear as the group of ministers opposed to the Prime Minister asserted that they had sufficient number of ministers in the 12 member cabinet, being backed by many top party leaders, to repose no-confidence in the Prime Minister.