MUZAFFARABAD: Dr Khalid Mahmood was elected emir of Jamaat-i-Islami Azad Jammu and Kashmir (AJK) and Gilgit-Baltistan (GB) for a three-year term, it was announced on Friday.

He has replaced Abdul Rashid Turabi, the longest-serving emir (22 years) after the party that was launched in AJK and GB in July 1974, with an independent set-up having no administrative control by JI Pakistan.

Mr Turabi is currently the member of the AJK Legislative Assembly, against a special seat reserved for the technocrats.

Riffat Aziz is the second MLA from the JI. She was elected against a seat reserved for women, as a result of the JI’s alliance with the PML-N in July 2016 polls.

Dr Mahmood, who has been practicing medicine in Rawalakot, was chosen for the slot by the party’s General Council, comprising around 1,500 members from AJK, GB and Pakistan-based Kashmiri refugees, from among a panel of three candidates who included the incumbent emir.

The number of votes obtained by them were not disclosed as per the party’s traditions.

In the JI, no one can present himself as or manoeuvre for the party’s leadership. It’s the party elected 30-member shura (arakeen) that presents a panel before the General Council and obtains their opinion through a secret ballot. However, the arakeen are at liberty to cast their vote in favour of anyone else from themselves, even if not included in the panel.

The new emir was born in Rihara village of district Poonch in 1956. He did his MBBS from Larkana, where he became member of Islami Jamiat Tulaba (IJT) and later its nazim for the Chandka Medical College as well as member of provincial shoora of Sindh.

After earning his MBBS degree, he started job in AJK health department but resigned from it after five years and established a private hospital in Rawalakot.

Side by side, he also carried on his organisational activities, holding the office of JI city and later district president in Poonch. He also contested AJK Assembly elections from Rawalakot thrice, but did not succeed.

The previous emirs included Maulana Abdul Bari, Col (retired) Abdul Rashid Abbasi, Engr Sardar Ejaz Afzal Khan and Abdul Rashid Turabi.

The outgoing emir extended felicitations to his successor and assured him of full cooperation to make the organisation strong in AJK and GB, according to a JI office bearer.

Published in Dawn, July 1st, 2017

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