MUZAFFARABAD: Azad Jammu and Kashmir’s (AJK) senior minister Chaudhry Tariq Farooq claimed on Thursday that Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz (PML-N) was destined to sweep the upcoming AJK polls owing to the “unity, commitment to the leadership, popularity and influence” of its candidates.
Answering questions at “Dialogue with Capital Journalists Forum,” an organization of AJK based senior mediapersons, he accused the rival PTI of igniting tensions and disturbing peace in AJK “in its desperate attempts to put the elections on hold”.
“Earlier, they tried in vain to get the polls postponed in the name of Covid-19 pandemic and now they want to achieve this target by provoking emotions and creating law and order situation,” asserted the senior minister who is also PML-N’s senior vice president in AJK.
Mr Farooq warned that “character assassination and use of filthy language against PML-N nominees” would not yield PTI candidates anything but would definitely “ruin the traditions of tolerance and amity that had been the hallmark of AJK’s politics.”
According to him, the AJK chapter of PTI was facing serious friction and infighting and had failed to do any homework for the polls because “it was expecting victory on a silver platter”.
“During the past three or so years, neither did we deliberately tread on the course of confrontation [with the PTI led central government] nor did we allow our differences swell beyond a certain limit because our enemy India does not miss any chance to exploit even an inconsequential controversy between Islamabad and Muzaffarabad,” he said.
When asked that since 1985 only those parties had formed a government in AJK that had their parent or like minded parties in power in Islamabad, he claimed that 2021 polls would reverse that trend.
When asked to explain what he claimed was performance, the senior minister maintained that the passage of 13thconstitutional amendment in June 2018 that granted more financial and administrative powers to the AJK government was the biggest ever achievement under the stewardship of Prime Minister Raja Farooq Haider.
He claimed that there had been a lot of pressure to repeal this amendment but the entire cabinet and parliamentary party stood behind the prime minister to frustrate all conspiracies in this regard.
He boasted that the PML-N government had introduced the National Testing System for appointments in the education department, in addition to making the Public Service Commission reliable and fully functional.
However, when asked if the recent controversial law to regularise ad-hoc, contractual and temporary employees had not blotted the government’s bragging about merit and justice, the senior minister replied in the negative.
Rather, he said, the bill had been moved under “humanitarian considerations” because many people had been serving as ad-hoc and contractual employees for years together.
Published in Dawn, June 4th, 2021