Who will be next AJK Prime Minister?

The Nation  |  Jul 28, 2021

Islamabad - Prime Minister Imran Khan’s party Pakistan Tehree-i- Insaf (PTI) has secured clear majority in elections on 45 general seats of 53-member Azad Jammu and Kashmir Legislative Assembly.

This is the first time PTI participated in the AJK elections and gained an impressive foothold. PTI has won 25 out of 45 general seats while re-election on one seat is yet to be held. Of eight reserved seats, PTI will secure majority seats because of its numerical position. On the other hand, Pakistan People’s Party (PPP) came in second with 11 seats while the Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz (PML-N) bagged six seats. The Jammu and Kashmir People’s Party (JKPP) and the All Jammu and Kashmir Muslim Conference (AJK-MC) managed to bag one seat each. 

With the electoral victory, PTI has marginalised its main political rivals - the PML-N and PPP - which have been ruling AJK one after another. Politically, the PTI, after its victory in July 2018 general elections, has emerged as third pillar by transforming the electoral party politics which had been revolving around two parties since late 80s. With PTI’s successful entry, country’s political horizon has now been mainstreamed with three major political players, PTI, PML-N and PPP. This has given more confidence to Prime Minister Imran Khan who unlike its rivals had virtually built his party from the scratch and has emerged as most dynamic and pragmatic leader on the national horizon. 

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Now, after securing majority in the AJK polls, what kind of person he is likely to choose as AJK future Prime Minister? Who will be holding two key positions of president and prime minister for his party government in the AJK, a discussion in the social media has started. It cannot be presumed whom Imran Khan would pick for these key positions. Two names of elected members of the PTI are being discussed. One is former AJK Prime Minister Barrister Sultan Mehmood and other is Sardar Tanveer Ilyas. Keeping in view the political style of Prime Minister Imran Khan, he keeps such important decisions close to his chest and takes decisions at appropriate time after getting through consultations and feedback from the party leaders. 

However, going by the names that have come forth, knowledgeable sources say he is likely to pick Sardar Tanveer Ilyas being a young, rich and dynamic person to run the future AJK government. In contrary, Barrister Sultan Mehmood who according to informed sources is a strong candidate for premiership and has already started lobbying in the party on basis of his rich political experience. However, some political analysts are of the view that Sardar Tanveer Ilyas could prove to be the dark horse Imran Khan might pick to lead the AJK government. They strongly believe that Barrister Sultan Mehmood would be most suitable person to take the office of AJK President because of his deep understanding of Kashmir issues.  

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