By Ruchika Talwar
Jul 31 2010
This week saw Sardar Attique Ahmed Khan take over as “PM” of Pakistan-occupied Kashmir. The area, which Palistan calls Azad Jammu and Kashmir or AJK, has since its 2006 elections been in a state of political crisis.
Dawn reported on July 26: “Just 30 hours before the vote on a no-confidence motion against PM Raja Farooq Haider, a faction of the ruling Muslim Conference which moved the motion claimed that 18 of 24 cabinet members had resigned... the AJK Assembly speaker, who is supporting the PM, said he hadn’t received any resignation... He called a session of the assembly for a vote. It will be the third time the assembly will vote on a no-confidence motion since its election in 2006... Former PM Sardar Attique Ahmed Khan, who had been voted out in January last year, has been nominated again as the Leader of the House. A spokesman for Sardar Attique, who is spearheading the move against the PM (of his own party), claimed to have the support required...” The incumbent “PM” tendered his resignation on July 27. According to Daily Times, he accused the federal government of “conspiring against him.” The ISI is a guiding force behind this move, suggests a report in The News: “Haider, while talking to this correspondent... admitted to having met General Ahmad Shuja Pasha, DG ISI but said people had created an impression he was an anti-state person and he met Pasha to clarify his position. ‘I convinced the general and at the end of the meeting, Pasha said that after listening to your views I have found you a patriotic person,’ the AJK PM said.”
Tension over extension
General Ashfaq Kayani’s three-year extension has raised eyebrows within Pakistan as well. Quoting PM Yousaf Gilani, a report in Dawn on July 26 stated: “Dispelling a perception that the extension to General Kayani would help the PPP government complete its five-year term, he said he drew his strength from parliament and there had never been a ‘threat’ to the government from any quarter. Granting extension was an administrative decision which didn’t require consultation with political parties. ‘However, I called Mr Nawaz Sharif two hours before my address to the nation but his son told me he was travelling.’ “ The News reported PMLN didn’t accept this explanation: “Nawaz Sharif is concerned over the PM’s attempt to contact him only two hours before announcing the extension... Discussion on crucial matters... takes place not only days but months before... The PM had phoned Nawaz just to inform him...”
The PPP clarified its stance, according to Daily Times on July 27: “Information and Broadcasting minister Qamar Zaman Kaira said the government was not bound to consult the opposition on every issue. ‘It is the present government which has started consulting the opposition on important national issues,’ he said.” When quizzed by reporters, Sharif dodged the issue and employed Faiz Ahmed Faiz’s famous couplet, reported Daily Times on July 28: “Aur bhi gham hein zamaney main mohabbat kay siva...”
Open secrets out
WikiLeaks has put Pakistan on the defensive, report newspapers. Dawn reported on July 27: “the ISI lashed out against the reports... calling the accusations malicious and unsubstantiated... Pakistan’s foreign ministry spokesman denounced the reports as ‘skewed’ and inconsistent with realities on the ground...” Daily Times quoted PM Gilani as saying at a function: “Pakistan harbours no aggressive designs against any state, but was determined to defend its territorial integrity and sovereignty.”
The weather played villain in Pakistan this week, as the country saw its worst aviation accident. The News reported on July 28: “Islamabad woke up to a beautiful heavenly monsoon morning with heavy rains and dark clouds rolling over the Margalla hills. But within one fateful moment, it stood transformed into a heart-wrenching hell as an Airblue passenger jet slammed into the Margalla hills... killing all 152 on board.” Torrential rains in Punjab, Khyber Pakhtunkhwa and Balochistan have claimed over 200 lives so far, reported Daily Times on July 28.
Source: The Indian Express, New Delhi