In an unexpected development, the Azad Jammu and Kashmir (AJK) Legislative Assembly chose Chaudhry Anwarul Haq as their new premier in the early hours of Thursday. This decision ended the week-long deadlock that resulted from the disqualification of former Prime Minister Tanveer Ilyas.
The voting took place at around 1:25 am, and Mr. Haq secured 31 votes, including support from seven Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz (PML-N) members, 12 Pakistan Peoples Party (PPP) members, and 12 defectors from the ruling Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI).
Mr. Haq remained with the PTI to ensure the party’s continued hold on power in the face of efforts by the combined opposition. The opposition aimed to take control of the government with the help of another group of PTI deserters under President Sultan Mahmood’s influence.
However, PTI regional president Ilyas mentioned that the party did not put forth a candidate for the premier position. He expressed his surprise upon learning about Mr. Haq’s double-dealing. Mr. Haq had been assuring the PTI leadership that he would try to preserve the party’s position in power while negotiating a deal with the establishment behind the scenes.
This unexpected shift in the AJK Legislative Assembly has brought a new premier to power. Still, it also raises questions about the political maneuvering and alliances that took place to reach this outcome.