Practice of receiving federal ministers at Kohala draws flak

TARIQ NAQASH

Muzaffarabad, July 17: AJK Prime Minister Chaudhry Abdul Majeed has asked five members of his cabinet to receive Federal Minister for Kashmir affairs Birjees Tahir at Kohala bridge on his maiden visit to the capital, in a move that drew flak from opposition and civil society.
 While minister for school education Mian Abdul Waheed, minister for college education Matloob Inqilabi, minister for food Javed Iqbal Bhudanvi and minister for works Chaudhry Muhammad Rasheed garlanded the federal minister at Kohala after waiting for him for about 30 minutes, minister for information Bazil Ali Naqvi waited and received the VIP guest near Ambore tunnel along with around two dozen people.
 Highly placed sources confided to Greater Kashmir that chief secretary Alam Din Bullo was not in favour of sending the cabinet members to Kohala to receive the federal minster.
 Instead, he had suggested that the deputy commissioner and SSP should receive the guest at Kohala and he (CS) and other officials would greet him at the entrance of a 5-star hotel here, where the AJK prime minister had arranged an iftar dinner in his honour.
 However, sources said, Prime Minister Majeed did not agree with the suggestion and directed the designated ministers to reach Kohala with garlands to welcome the federal minister of the recently installed PML-N government. 
 The unprecedented reception however sent a shock wave among the civil society as well as political leaders who said it amounted to “undermining the status of the AJK government.” “A simple humiliation of already humiliated government. Even (the federal) minister himself should have taken notice of this unusual reception,” said former Prime Minister and opposition Muslim Conference president Sardar Attique Ahmed Khan in a text message to this correspondent.
 Even the PML-N AJK chapter president and leader of the opposition in AJK assembly Raja Farooq Haider was not happy with this development.
 “Azad Kashmir is back in 1950’s,” he told Greater Kashmir. His terse but thoughtful comment was a reference to an alleged practice of 1950’s when the AJK president(s) used to receive the joint secretary of federal ministry of Kashmir affairs at Kohala.
 The practice came to end when legendary K H Khurshid became the AJK president in late 50’s.
 PML-N’s senior vice president Chaudhry Tariq Farooq MLA was also aghast at what he said ‘shameful act on the part of the AJK government.’
 “The AJK government wants to hush up its corruption and hoodwink the federal government with such acts of puffery,” he remarked.
 Interestingly some ruling People’s Party leaders had also erected billboards in the civil secretariat area with welcoming slogans for the visiting federal minister.
 Shaukat Javid Mir, one of the official spokesmen, shrugged off criticism against the reception and maintained that the PP government had demonstrated its “traditional hospitality” notwithstanding difference of political ideologies.But there were little takers of the official stance. Shams Rehman, a UK based Kashmiri community leader maintained that there was nothing wrong in showing some courtesies but meanings changed when relationship was not equal.
 The federal minister is scheduled to meet various people and attend some briefings here on Wednesday before returning to Islamabad the same evening.

Lastupdate on : Wed, 17 Jul 2013 21:30:00 Makkah time
Lastupdate on : Wed, 17 Jul 2013 18:30:00 GMT
Lastupdate on : Thu, 18 Jul 2013 00:00:00 IST




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