MUZAFFARABAD: Jamaat-i-Islami Azad Jammu and Kashmir (JIAJK) has terminated the basic membership of its former emir and sitting member of the Legislative Assembly for withdrawing his candidature in favour of a PTI candidate.

Abdul Rashid Turabi, who served as JIAJK emir for 21 years (from 1990 to 2002 and from 2008 to 2017), was elected as the member of the sitting assembly as an ally of the PML-N against a seat reserved for the technocrats.

Apart from him, the PML-N had also given another reserved seat to a female JIAJK activist in return for the party’s support in the last general elections.

However, this year the JIAJK decided to contest elections on its own and had fielded as many as 30 candidates against 45 general seats, Mr Turabi being one among those from LA-15, Bagh-II.

Abdul Rashid Turabi withdraws in favour of PTI candidate

He was facing information minister Mushtaq Minhas of PML-N, Sardar Tanveer Ilyas of PTI, Raja Yasin of Muslim Conference and Ziaul Qamar of PPP.

Recently, though without directly naming Mr Ilyas, who has the domicile of the neighbouring Poonch district, Mr Turabi had issued a harsh statement against him wherein he had vowed to inflict “crushing defeat upon the parachutist making a landing in Bagh on the basis of his wealth.”

However on the day of Eid on Wednesday he gave a surprise to even his own party in most parts of AJK by withdrawing from the polls in favour of Mr Ilyas.

Earlier in the day, Mr Turabi had invited the office bearers and key members of JIAJK in district Bagh for consultations on the situation in the constituency, who in return had reportedly thrown their weight behind him and authorised him to take any decision “in the interest of the constituency and the party”.

At a media talk along with Mr Ilyas, Mr Turabi had stated that the decision to support PTI in LA-15, Bagh-II was just to the extent of this constituency.

As Mr Turabi’s decision appeared on social media JIAJK’s Rawalakot-based Emir Dr Khalid Mahmood called a press conference late in the evening where he announced termination of ex-emir’s basic membership “for not taking the party leadership on board in this regard”.

He maintained that any decision about “an alliance or seat adjustment” with any other party was the prerogative of the emir and not any district level body.

He also announced dissolution of the party’s organisational body in district Bagh in a move that was resented by the latterin a video message for being “beyond the authority of the emir”.

Published in Dawn, July 24th, 2021


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