MUZAFFARABAD: Expressing anguish at a recent press talk by some members of the Azad Jammu and Kashmir (AJK) cabinet, Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz (PML-N) regional secretary general Chaudhry Tariq Farooq has urged regional president Shah Ghulam Qadir to immediately convene a joint meeting of the party’s legislators and office-bearers to draw up a decisive course of action.

On Wednesday, seven AJK ministers – three from the PTI renegades and two each from coalition partners PPP and PML-N – had held a joint press conference to shrug off the widely prevailing ‘speculations’ about the likeliness of no trust against Prime Minister Chaudhry Anwarul Haq.

Though the ministers had avoided naming anyone, their comments had left no doubt that they were trying to counter the narrative of PML-N vice president and former AJK premier Raja Farooq Haider, who has been stressing upon PML-N’s early exit from the coalition government “to make good of the damages to its reputation among the masses”.

However, while the PPP ministers expressed their views cautiously, the alleged assertions by senior minister Waqar Noor left a bad taste in the mouth of PML-N leaders and workers across the state.

Mr Noor represents PML-N in the coalition government. Previously, from 2016 to 2021, he had served as a cabinet member in the Mr Haider led PML-N government.

“…those making noise [about the change of government] in the state are the ones whose extortions have stopped… But nothing will happen, [because] the government cannot be changed according to someone’s personal wish… The prime minister will not succumb to blackmailing by anyone,” Mr Noor had said.

Taking strong exception to the press talk, Mr Farooq, the PML-N regional secretary general, asserted that the government and some other elements were desperately trying to cause dissension and discord in his party.

“They are out to raise someone from within our party to fulfill their nefarious agenda. But let me declare again that their machinations are doomed to fail,” he said.

Terming Mr Haider as a gifted and respectable political leader, Mr Farooq maintained that not only the PML-N workers but the majority of people across the state stood by the former premier’s standpoint on governance and exit from the coalition government.

Referring to Mr Haider’s position on a no-trust motion against Mr Haq, Mr Farooq asserted that Mr Haider was genuinely concerned about the “escalation of negative sentiments and anti-Pakistan activities, closure of developmental activities as well as government’s hollow claims about austerity.”

Published in Dawn, March 25th, 2024

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