Chaudhry Anwarul Haq has been elected as the next prime minister of AJK Legislative Assembly in an unexpected move that ended a weeklong political deadlock after ex-PM Sardar Tanveer Ilyas was disqualified. Haq, who was also the Speaker of the Assembly, was the only candidate to file nomination papers and thus obtained the trust of all 48 members present in the house, which included 29 members of the ruling PTI, as well as opposition members from the PPP and PML-N.
Following Ilyas’ disqualification, Anwarul Haq had remained with the PTI to ensure the party’s return to power in the face of opposition maneuvers, aimed at clinching power with the help of a small group of PTI deserters influenced by President Barrister Sultan Mahmood. Haq was among the three lawmakers that PTI chief Imran Khan had shortlisted, and asked the parliamentary party to build consensus on one name to become AJK premier.
However, on Wednesday night, Haq’s name emerged as a joint candidate of the combined opposition and a 12-member PTI ‘forward bloc’, which was a surprise development for many. In response to this, PTI regional president Ilyas issued a statement, denying that the party had named anyone as its candidate for the post and accusing Haq of striking a deal with the establishment while assuring the PTI leadership of his efforts to save the party.
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Despite the allegations, Haq’s election as the next prime minister of AJK Legislative Assembly has been confirmed, and he is now set to take up the position. The unexpected move has drawn significant attention from political analysts, with many speculating on the implications of the joint opposition’s decision to support Haq, and the fallout that may follow.