MUZAFFARABAD: Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaaf (PTI) regional President, Barrister Sultan Mehmood Chaudhary on Tuesday elected as 28th President of Azad Jammu and Kashmir (AJK) by securing 34 votes against his opponent from joint opposition Mian Abdul Waheed who secured 16 votes.
The newly elected president will take oath of the office on August 24 after expiry of the outgoing President Sardar Muhammad Masood Khan’s tenure.
The election took place at AJK legislative Assembly special session convened for the purpose, with speaker Chaudhary Anwar Ul Haq in chair and a total of 50 members who casted their votes out of 52.
Those who did not cast their vote were Pakistan People’s Party (PPP) member from Kotli Ch. Yaseen and Pakistan Muslim League Nawaz (PMLN) member and former speaker Shah Ghulam Qadir.
Barrister Sultan started his political carrier in 1983 after completion of his education from United Kingdom and elected as youngest member of AJK legislative Assembly in 1985 from the platform of Azad Muslim Conference, a party founded by his father late Ch. Noor Hussain.
He has the special honor to be elected 9th time member of Azad Jammu and Kashmir Assembly from 1985 onward and was elected as President in the capacity of member legislative Assembly. The seat would be declared vacant after he takes oath of his office.
He was elected as Prime Minister Azad Jammu and Kashmir from the platform of PPP in 1996 to 2001. He also served as Minister and opposition leader in the legislative Assembly.
The newly elected President also headed many political parties like Jammu Kashmir Liberation League after Azad Muslim conference, Pakistan People’s Party, Peoples Muslim League which he himself founded and at present he is part of PTI.
Votes for electing the AJK president were cast during a special session of the legislative assembly, which began after a delay of two hours.
Soon after Mahmood was announced winner in the election, PTI Senator Faisal Javed Khan congratulated him in a tweet.
“Congratulations to PTI Barrister Sultan Mehmood on his election as President of Azad Kashmir and best wishes. Inshallah you will play a great role for the rights of Kashmiris as per the vision of Prime Minister Imran Khan and bring real change in Kashmir. Amen,” he tweeted.
Mahmood, who is the PTI’s regional president, was elected as a member of the AJK Legislatve Assembly from LA-3, Mirpur-III on July 25, securing his seventh victory in nine general elections since 1985. Apart from these nine general elections, two by-elections were also held in this constituency and both were won by him.
Prior to his nomination as the PTI’s candidate for presidential elections, Sultan Mahmood was expecting to be nominated as the prime ministerial candidate for leading the party to a sweeping success in AJK. He, however, faced a blow on August 5 when Sardar Abdul Qayyum Niazi, who was nowhere in the initial list of the AJK premier hopefuls, was picked by Prime Minister Imran Khan for the coveted office.
The PTI leadership had told Mahmood that after his elevation to the presidency, his son would be launched from Mirpur-III and subsequently inducted in the cabinet in bid to convince him to agree to become the party’s candidate in the presidential election.
Initially showing reluctance, because in that case he would have to quit both the assembly and the party’s top regional office, Mahmood had agreed to contest the election after Prime Minister Imran Khan had spoken to him in that regard, the report said.