Sardar Attique Ahmed Khan of the Muslim Conference was on Thursday elected "prime minister" of Pakistan-occupied Kashmir after incumbent Raja Farooq Haider quit amidst high drama, alleging that PPP-led federal government was interfering in the affairs of the region.
Khan was elected with 39 votes in the 49-member assembly in PoK capital Muzaffarabad and is the fourth politician to don the mantle in the last four years.
The election was necessitated by the resignation of the former incumbent, Raja Farooq Haider, who quit on Monday to avoid facing a no-confidence motion. Haider too belonged to the Muslim Conference but a group of 18 ministers staged a rebellion and resigned to protest his policies.
Haider has charged that the Pakistan Peoples Party-led government was interfering in PoK affairs and said the rebel ministers had raised unacceptable demands like recruitment of their sons in high posts and appointment of their relatives as judges.
Information minister Qamar Zaman has denied Haider's charges. Haider and his legislator supporters boycotted today's Assembly session, describing the proceedings as illegal. The former prime minister recently had a meeting with opposition leader Nawaz Sharif, who has decided to launch his PML-N party in the region.
Prime Minister Yousuf Raza Gilani today congratulated Attique Khan on his election.
This was the fourth time that the PoK assembly has elected a prime minister since 2006. Fresh elections are scheduled for next year.