MUZAFFARABAD. The Azad Jammu & Kashmir (AJK) Supreme Court on Saturday ordered for issuance of a fresh schedule of the election to the new prime minister through the summoning of a fresh session of the AJK Legislative Assembly by the president.
The full court, comprising Chief Justice Raja Saeed Akram, Khan, Justice Khawaja Muhammad Nasim, Justice Raza Ali Khan and Justice Muhammad Younis Tahir, declared that “under Article 16 (3) of the AJK Interim Constitution 1974, if the prime minister resigns at the time when the assembly is not in session, only the president of the AJK State, has the power to summon the assembly session for election to the office of the new leader of the house / prime minister of AJK within 14 days after the resignation and the speaker has no power to issue schedule for the election to the new prime minister / new leader of the house, independently”.
The court, while disposing of the appeal by Sardar Tanveer Illayas, candidate for the AJK prime minister (belonging to the incumbent ruling Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf) declared that after the resignation of Prime Minister Sardar Abdul Qayyum Niazi from office before voting upon the no-confidence motion under article 16 (3), it was only the AJK president who had the authority to summon the LA session within 14 days for election to the new leader of the house.
The SC observed that after the resignation of Sardar Qayyum Niazi from the office, the vote of a no-confidence motion against him (Qayyum Niazi) had become in-fructuous and the session stood adjourned. “And as such, the speaker has no power to issue the schedule for elections of the new prime minister.”
The full court observed that after the adjournment of the AJK LA session, which stood in-fructuous, the writ petition filed in the High Court of AJK also became in-fructuous.
It also directed the AJK PM’s Principal Secretary and the Secretary Law of AJK Government to place the case before the AJK PM, so that the AJK president could summon the LA session under Article 16  of the AJK Interim Constitution for the election of the new prime minister.
It may be added that the AJK High Court on April 15, 2022, on a writ petition filed by the leader of opposition in the AJK LA Ch Lateef Akber and member Ch Muhammad Yasin, and President of Pakistan Peoples’ Party AJK Chapter, issued a stay order restraining the AJK LA speaker not to proceed for the election of new PM for which the speaker issued the schedule for election, on the ground that the session of the house, summoned by the Speaker on April 15, was for the voting upon the no-confidence motion against Prime Minister Qayyum Niazi, which had already become in-fructuous due to the resignation of Qayyum Niazi on April 14 from the office. The High Court had fixed the case to hear on April 18.
Meanwhile, the AJK LA session convened for voting on the no-confidence motion was prorogued on Saturday.
AJK LA to elect new PM on April 18
AJK President Barrister Sultan Mahmood has summoned the Legislative Assembly session on Monday to elect the new prime minister after prorogation of the session consequent upon a verdict of the Supreme Court, earlier on Saturday.
The opposition had objected to the session convened by speaker on a requisition to take up a no-confidence motion as unlawful after the resignation of Prime Minister Sardar Abdul Qayyum Niazi and got a restraining order from the High Court. The candidate for prime ministership Sardar Tanveer Aliyas then moved the Supreme Court against that High Court order which handed down a verdict on the issue on Saturday.