Azad Jammu and Kashmir (AJK) Prime Minister Sardar Abdul Qayyum Niazi on Thursday tendered his resignation even before voting on the no-confidence motion against him could be held.
A total of 25 dissenting members of the PTI in the AJK Legislative Assembly had filed the no-trust motion against Niazi on April 12.
The motion had been filed under Article 18 of the AJK’s interim Constitution. The move came after PTI Chairman and former premier Imran Khan was ousted from the government on April 9.
The AJK Legislative Assembly session was called on Friday (today) for voting on the move.
Niazi sent his resignation to PTI Kashmir President Barrister Sultan Mahmood Chaudhry and Imran Khan.
Addressing a hurriedly-called news conference in Islamabad, Niazi said he was thankful to Imran for picking him for the post of AJK premier.
He adopted the stance that a no-confidence motion was filed against him “without any accusation”.
He further said, “The allegations leveled against me are baseless and I reject them”.
“My leader Imran Khan highlighted the Kashmir issue in the world and said that he was the ambassador of Kashmiris.”
Niazi recalled that as soon as he took the office of AJK premier, his prime focus was the Kashmir issue and matters pertaining to those living on the Line of Control (LoC).
Earlier in the day, Niazi had sacked four ministers and an adviser who had brought the no-confidence motion against him.
The sacked ministers included Tanveer Ilyas, Abdul Majeed Khan, Khawaja Farooq Ahmed, Ali Shan Sohni and adviser Chaudhry Muhammad Akbar.
According to a notification, the ministers were sacked for “misconduct, corruption and suspicious activities”. The development came after Niazi met Imran and apprised him of the motive behind the move.
A simply majority is needed to oust the premier. The AJK Assembly has 53 seats, out of which PTI has 32 seats, PPP 12, PML-N seven, and Muslim Conference and Jammu and Kashmir People’s Party have one seat each.
Born in 1959, Niazi is a veteran politician who started his political journey as a district councillor. Hailing from Darra Sher Khan village, which sits on the LoC, he was twice elected as a district councillor between 1980 and 1990.
He started his mainstream political journey from the platform of Jammu and Kashmir Muslim Conference (JKMC) – the oldest political party of undivided Jammu and Kashmir – in the 2006 elections.
Niazi, 61, was elected as a member of the Legislative Assembly on July 25, 2021, elections from Poonch district, which lies on the LoC.
His nomination superseded several top party leaders and strong candidates for the coveted post, particularly Sultan Mahmood Chaudhry and Tanveer Ilyas.