The Azad Jammu and Kashmir (AJK) High Court disqualified Prime Minister Sardar Tanveer Ilyas from his role as a member of the legislative assembly due to contempt, resulting in the termination of his position as the AJK prime minister.
The legislative assembly will now have to elect a new premier. Ilyas has the right to appeal this decision in the AJK Supreme Court.
The disqualification followed Ilyas receiving notices from the superior courts of AJK, asking him to explain his position concerning his derogatory remarks about the judiciary in public speeches. The notices required Ilyas to appear separately before the high court and the Supreme Court on a specified date.
At a recent event in Islamabad, Ilyas had indirectly accused the judiciary of disrupting his government’s functioning and infringing on the executive’s domain by issuing stay orders. He cited a $15 million Saudi-funded education project as an example, which was halted due to a court-ordered stay. Additionally, he criticized the courts for de-sealing tobacco factories involved in tax evasion amounting to billions of rupees.
During the hearing, the court played three video clips of Ilyas’ speeches, including his recent one, and asked him if he intended to contest the charges. Ilyas denied contesting the charges and tendered an unconditional apology to the court, stating that he placed himself at the court’s mercy. However, Justice Khalid Rasheed questioned whether there was any guarantee that Ilyas would not repeat his actions in the future.
The court ultimately rejected Ilyas’ apology, with Justice Rasheed announcing the verdict that sentenced the AJK prime minister until the court rose. After the announcement, Ilyas appeared before the AJK Supreme Court, again apologizing for his remarks. The Supreme Court adjourned the hearing for two weeks.
PTI leader Fawad Chaudhry commented on the development, emphasizing the necessity of respecting court decisions for both Pakistan and AJK prime ministers. He urged Ilyas to apologize and hoped the Supreme Court would grant him relief. He also stated that Prime Minister Shehbaz Sharif should learn from the court’s decision.