Chaudhry Maqbool Ahmed Gujjar
Chaudhry Maqbool Ahmed Gujjar

MUZAFFARABAD: Azad Jammu and Kashmir (AJK) Prime Minister Sardar Tanveer Ilyas on Wednesday removed Chaudhry Maqbool Ahmed Gujjar from his cabinet reportedly because of his “indecorous attitude and misconduct”.

“In exercise of the powers conferred on him under Article 14(3) of the Constitution, the Prime Minister has removed Mr Maqbool Ahmed [Gujjar], Minister for Industry, Commerce, Labour Welfare, Sericulture and Printing Press with immediate effect,” read a notification issued by the AJK Services and General Administration Department (S&GAD).

Mr Gujjar, who had returned from LA-35, Jammu-II, one of the 12 constituencies of Kashmiri migrants in Pakistan, was adviser for industry and commerce in the previous Sardar Abdul Qayyum Niazi-led PTI government. However, in April this year, PM Ilyas had appointed him as minister with the same portfolios.

Though the S&GAD notification was silent about the reason behind Mr Gujjar’s unceremonious dismissal, an AJK Press Information Department handoutstated that the prime minister had removed him for “constant violations of the code of conduct, party policy and the Rules of Business”.

Gujjar removed for “constant violations of the code of conduct, party policy and the Rules of Business”, handout says

“Chaudhry Maqbool Gujjar was time and again warned by the party leadership and government to mend his ways but to no avail… He did not stop his actions against the rules which was why he was ousted from the cabinet today,” added the handout.

Last month, Mr Gujjar had hit the headlines after the PML-N led Punjab government hadbarred him and former federal minister Ali Amin Gandapur from entering the province from July 15 to July 18 over a concern that they might cause unrest during by-elections on July 17.

However, Mr Gujjar had defied the ban. He was escorted by the police out of the city from where his real cousin was contesting elections as PTI nominee.

Sources in the AJK government said Mr Gujjar had misbehaved with PM Ilyas at a recent cabinet meeting, hurling an indecent

comment on the latter. However, both had reconciled the same evening.

On August 13, when the government had presented the 15thconstitutional amendment bill with the full support of the opposition PPP and PML-N, envisaging the establishment of a separate election commission for local bodies (LB), Mr Gujjar had expressed his disagreement with the move through some satirical remarks in the house.

Talking to Dawn from Islamabad on Wednesday, Mr Gujjar asserted that he had been removed from the cabinet for his “unequivocal standpoint against the moves aimed at holding the long overdue LB polls in abeyance”.

“Ironically, all these major political parties - PPP, PTI, PML-N or Muslim Conference - are unanimous about not holding the LB polls. From their body language, I do not see any signs of these polls in near future,” he said.

Mr Gujjar, a former [Sialkot] district council member and twice elected town nazim of Pasrur, said he had contested LB elections in Punjab because of his “firm belief in the utility of local government system that serves as a nursery for new leadership.”

“Since it’s also in accordance with the vision of our leader Imran Khan, I am therefore averse to any move in Azad Kashmir that derails LB elections,” he added.

He said he had sought an appointment with the PTI chief for Thursday to apprise him of his concerns in this regard.

Published in Dawn, August 18th, 2022

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