February 2008 News

Pak Poll Result May Land AJK Govt In Trouble

21 February 2008
Kashmir Watch

Muzaffarabad: Sardar Attique Ahmad Khan led Muslim Conference government in Pakistan Administered Kashmir (PAK) is bracing for hard times ahead. The infighting in MC is all set to intensify after the defeat of Pakistan Muslim League (Q) in elections and Musharraf losing grip on power. The MC is divided into two factions in PAK. The ruling Attique group has always identified itself with Parvez Musharraf and Q League. This group lent support to Musharraf’s Kashmir policy. Without looking towards future, Sardar Attique on August 23 had stated that General Musharraf should remain the president of Pakistan as long as he was physically fit. “The role of military in the civilian affairs in Pakistan was unavoidable,” he had said. Sardar Attique and his father Sardar Abdul Qayoom are known for their U-turns. The father-son duo were very close to Sharif but after his overthrowing by Musharraf in a military coup, they switched sides and enjoyed proximity with General as well. The victory of Sardar Attique led Muslim Conference in PAK elections is considered by many observes as a reward by Musharraf to him for ditching Sharif. The other MC faction led by ex-prime minister Sardar Sikandar Hayat Khan is a die hard opponent of Musharraf and Q League and openly aligns itself with the Muslim League (N). Sardar Sikandar and other leaders of this faction personally participated in the election campaign of Nawaz Sharif and called on Kashmiris in Pakistan to support him and his party. Apart from raising allegations of corruption against government, Sikandar group is also opposed to party’s support to Musharraf’s Kashmir policy, terming it a “sell-out”. It has asked Sardar Attique to relinquish party presidentship while serving as the prime minister. To further compound matters for Attique government, another important party with a significant representation in the legislative assembly - Peoples Muslim League Azad Kashmir – is also opposed to Musharraf’s Kashmir policey. The head of this party Barrister Sultan Mahmud Chaudhry renounced PPPAJK and established his new party allegedly at the behest of Nawaz Sharif. Like Sikandar Hayat, Barrister Sultan too also on the forefront to campaign for PML (N) and hosted Nawaz Sharif when he was visited Muzaffarabad in December last year to express his sorry and grief with the earthquake victims. Sikandar Hayat and Barrister Sultan Mahmood today have goods relations with each other and are very likely to build up pressure against Attique government in the days ahead. The main opposition party, PPPAK is opposing Attique government tooth and nail. The party has dubbed it as the ‘stooge’ of Musharraf, Q League and intelligence agencies. The party has alleged that 2005 elections were rigged and manipulated in favour of Attique faction. It has demanded the fresh elections be held to elect the true representatives of the people. After the Pak election results started pouring in, Sardar Attique congratulated the winners and told them that his government was based on stable foundations and would have no difficulty in working with any democratically elected government in Pakistan. With new democratic government taking over reigns in Pakistan, all the opposition parties have begin to demand holding of fresh elections in PAK.. It will be very premature to predict anything at this point of time. But one thing is sure that with the ouster of Q League and possible exit of Musharraf from the scene, Attique government is in trouble and is bound to face tough days ahead. The political observers opine that if the dissidents in the ruling party join hands with opposition parties in demanding fresh elections, then Attique government’s tenure may be cut short. “Only time will decide the fate of Attique government,” they added.

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