Ousted Azad Jammu and Kashmir (AJK) prime minister Tanvir Ilyas’appeal challenging his disqualification was rejected by the concerned Supreme Court on Wednesday.
The AJK High Court had disqualified Ilyas a day earlier from his position as a member of the legislative assembly and as premier on contempt charges.
Later, the AJK Election Commission Secretariat had issued a notification, stating: “Pursuant to the judgment dated April 11, 2023, passed by the Honourable High Court of Azad Jammu and Kashmir in Robkar Adalat vs Tanvir Ilyas, Prime Minister Govt of Azad Jammu and Kashmir, and sub-article (2) of Article 25 of the Azad Jammu and Kashmir Interim Constitution 1974, the Chief Election Commissioner AJK hereby issued notification of disqualification of Tanvir Ilyas as member AJK Legislative Assembly.”
It is “with effect from April 11, 2023, in consequence thereof the notification dated July 27, 2021, to the extent of declaring him as a returned candidate from the AJK Legislative Assembly Constituency No LA-XV, Bagh-II stands rescinded with effect from April 11, 2023.”
On Monday, the superior courts of AJK had served notices to Ilyas seeking an explanation about his position on derogatory remarks about the judiciary in speeches at public gatherings. On Tuesday, the prime minister had been asked to appear before the AJK High Court and Supreme Court.
Ilyas had accused the judiciary of affecting the work of his government and intervening in the domain of the executive through stay orders.
The AJK premier had claimed that a multimillion Saudi-funded education project was incomplete due to a court order. He had also spoken against the court orders to reopen tobacco factories that were involved in tax evasion worth billions of rupees.
On Tuesday, the full bench of the high court pronounced the verdict, convicted him for statements against the judiciary and sentenced him.
The court had taken notice of Ilyas’ anti-judiciary statements and had not accepted his apology.
Subsequently, Ilyas filed an appeal in the AJK Supreme Court praying for his conviction to be overturned.
The apex court, however, rejected his plea on technical grounds with SC Chief Justice Raja Saeed Akram observing that it was “incompetently worded”. He noted that the plea mentioned Ilyas as the prime minister even though the high court’s order was still holding ground.
CJ Akram nonetheless permitted Ilyas’ lawyer to file a fresh plea in court.
Meanwhile, the AJK chief secretary’s office has issued a notification stating that Khawaja Farooq Ahmed has been appointed as the interim premier.
The notification was issued late last night stating that “the president of Azad Jammu and Kashmir, in the exercise of powers vested in him under sub-article (1) of Article 17 of the AJK Constitution, is pleased to call upon Khawaja Farooq Ahmed, the most senior minister, to perform functions of the Office of the Prime Minister until a new prime minister has been appointed and elected upon his office”.