INTERNATIONAL DESK: Pakistan suffered an embarrassing setback when the self-proclaimed Prime Minister of Pakistan Occupied Kashmir (PoK), Sardar Tanveer Ilyas was disqualified for contempt of court, Asian Lite International reported.
PoK’s High Court on April 11 declared Ilyas unfit to be a member of the “legislative assembly” due to contempt charges and from holding any public office for two years.
This decision came after Ilyas was summoned to the PoK “Supreme Court” and high court for using derogatory language about the superior judiciary in his public speeches.
Ilyas belongs to Imran Khan’s Pakistan Tehreek-i-Insaf (PTI) and is the first serving PoK “prime minister” to be disqualified on contempt charges, as per Asian Lite International.
This development is another illustration of how the phoney political structures in the PoK are failing miserably and inflicting great misery on the local populace.
Ilyas was a known troublemaker who constantly fought with the leaders of his own party and those of other political groups. He got into a heated argument with Prime Minister Shehbaz Sharif during the unveiling of the Mangla Dam Hydroelectric Power Plant’s Units 5 and 6 refurbishment project last year. Ilyas publicly denounced Shehbaz for neglecting to recognise the “sacrifices made by the Kashmiri people for the progress and prosperity of Pakistan” during the refurbishment project. Sharif responded to the humiliation by sealing the Ilyas family-owned Centaurus Mall in Islamabad as payback, according to Asian Lite International.
“Following the heated exchange between the Prime Ministers of PoK and Pakistan at the event in Mangla, the government ordered the CDA to seal the building at 3 am as retaliation.”
Ilyas bemoaned the political victimisation the ruling Pakistan Democratic Movement (PDM) administration had inflicted upon him as a result of the mall sealing episode. He was not successful in getting the public to back PTI as he had planned. He said that the PDM in power was attempting to overthrow his administration in PoK by paying off lawmakers from his party in December of last year. PoK has suffered immensely since assuming his so-called premiership in last April. The PoK is currently experiencing serious fuel and food shortages as Pakistan is on the verge of becoming bankrupt.
Regular sit-ins and protests have taken place in these places, but the local political establishment has not complied with the populace’s demands. It is significant that PoK is usually governed by the same party that controls Islamabad.
The situation became far more complicated in the occupied territory, with a PTI leader in power in PoK and the PDM government in Islamabad. With another PTI leader, Chaudhry Anwarul Haq replacing Ilyas, the political turmoil in PoK is likely to worsen in the coming months, Asian Lite International reported.
After Haq got appointed as the new Prime Minister of PoK, in a late-night assembly session, Ilyas expressed his concerns, releasing a statement, “Today, I have come to know about the machinations of Haq. On the one hand, he was assuring PTI leadership of his efforts to save the party, on the other, he was striking a deal with the establishment.”
A week-long impasse brought on by Ilyas’s disqualification seemed to be resolved when Haq was declared the “joint candidate” of the combined opposition and a 12-member PTI ‘forward bloc’ in PoK’s legislative assembly. Ilyas attempted to challenge his disqualification on “technical grounds,” but the PoK Supreme Court rejected his case on April 12. This allowed other PTI leaders to step into Ilyas’ position. The Tehreek-e-Jawanan Pakistan and Kashmir (TJPK) leadership, however, rejected the “unconstitutional decision” on April 15 and announced the Justice Movement for PoK Leader Sardar Tanveer Illyas, which would start following Pakistan’s Eid-ul-Fitr holidays.
The protestors criticised the decision, saying, “We do not accept these rules of oppression, we do not accept these decisions of repression, the unconstitutional decision against Sardar Tanveer Ilyas is unacceptable, these rules of oppression are unacceptable.” Such reactions hint that the Pakistan Army used local courts in PoK to remove Ilyas from power.
Ilyas’ abrupt disqualification has raised a lot of questions regarding the decision-making process. According to media reports, cited by Asian Lite International, the court was notified by Ilyas’s social media posts that were disparaging of the judiciary. The Council of Judges sent notice to Ilyas on April 10 after the court was given a “newspaper clip” of his speech. Ilyas was removed from office within 24 hours of receiving the notice based on prima facie evidence. It has never happened before for a PoK prime minister to be ousted from office without due process.
Despite the central leadership of the PTI calling for respect for the court’s judgement, Ilyas’s expulsion is a setback to Imran Khan’s party, which is now engaged in a power struggle with the ruling PDM government and the military establishment. The political intrigue that follows in PoK is probably going to make things worse for the locals there, Asian Lite International reported. (ANI)