The Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) is all set to elect Sardar Tanveer Ilyas, its nominee for the office of Azad Jammu and Kashmir (AJK) prime minister, by a clear majority on Monday when the Legislative Assembly meets for the purpose.
In a late night announcement on Sunday, the 19-member combined opposition, comprising PPP and PML-N representatives, announced that they will boycott the election of the prime minister without giving any reason for it immediately.
The opposition had nominated PPP’s regional president Chaudhry Mohammad Yasin as their candidate for the prime minister’s office. When contacted by Dawn, leader of the opposition Chaudhry Latif Akbar alleged that Imran Khan had “sold out the AJK premiership to Ilyas”.
“Not only has Ilyas given money to PTI lawmakers but he also held them hostage at a local hotel since the past few days,” he said.
However, when he was asked about how it was unethical for PTI lawmakers to vote for a candidate from their own party, he could not give a plausible reply.
Meanwhile, according to Rule 15 of the Rules of Procedure of Legislative Assembly, any member of the legislative assembly (MLA) can propose the name of any other MLA for the office of prime minister two days before the day slated for voting while the nominee can himself withdraw from the election a day before the voting day.
PTI insiders said that their parliamentary party members had held a meeting at a local hotel on Saturday night to thrash out their strategy for Monday’s sitting. The meeting was also attended by former Kashmir affairs minister Ali Amin Gandapur, they added.
The sources claimed that Yasin had allegedly contacted some of the PTI legislators to support him in the election.
As speculation had been doing the rounds that some PTI legislators from Yasin’s tribe might have a soft corner for him, reservations to this effect had also discreetly surfaced at the meeting, according to the sources. However, they said, the same were strongly repudiated by legislators from the Mirpur Division.
In his speech on the occasion, a PTI lawmaker considered close to AJK President Barrister Sultan Mahmood naively disclosed that Mahmood had suggested the names of Sardar Faheem Rabbani and Chaudhry Mohammad Rasheed to chairman Imran Khan as the likely replacement for Sardar Abdul Qayyum Niazi.
“However, since the chairman has given his blessing to Sardar Tanveer Ilyas we all stand by him wholeheartedly and there should not be any doubt in this regard,” the sources, quoting the lawmaker, said.
It was also revealed that Niazi had hinted that he too could poll his vote in favour of Ilyas provided “no one booed him in the assembly”.
An assurance had been given to him in this regard, the sources said, claiming that Niazi was likely to show up and cast his vote for Mr Ilyas.
Responding to a question about Muslim Conference leader Sardar Attique Ahmed Khan and Jammu Kashmir People’s Party chief Sardar Hassan Ibrahim, the sources said at least one of them would surely vote for Ilyas.
Since the installation of the present assembly, both leaders have supported the PTI in all elections.
Meanwhile, the president secretariat had made preparations for the oath of the PM-elect at 3pm on Monday.