ISLAMABAD: Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif, who is also the chief of ruling Pakistan Muslim League, has approved the name of Masood Khan, a retired bureaucrat, for the coveted office of president Azad Jammu and Kashmir (AJK).
Masood will be replacing Sardar Yaqoob as 23rd president of the region. Yaqoob will be retiring on August 25 after completing his five-year constitutional term. Masood is presently serving as director general at the Institute of Strategic Studies Islamabad (ISSI).
Masood’s selection was finalised on Wednesday following an important meeting between Premier Nawaz and the newly elected AJK prime minister, Raja Farooq Haider. Two other contenders for the office were Chaudhry Tariq Farooq of the PML-N and Sardar Khalid Ibrahim of the Jammu and Kashmir People’s Party.
Discussions are ongoing on the makeup of AJK’s cabinet, and PML-N’s parliamentary party will finalise prospective ministers in a meeting scheduled today (Thursday).
AJK Election Commission’s spokesman Tariq Mahmood Butt told The Express Tribune that a joint session of AJK parliament – comprising a four-member council (upper house) and 49-member Legislative Assembly (lower house) – is required to be summoned by the outgoing president to elect the new president following the expiry of the incumbent’s term.
“The president is elected through secret ballot by a majority vote,” he said, adding that the outgoing president will administer oath to his successor.
Masood retired as a career diplomat in 2005. He has served on key positions as Foreign Office’s spokesman, Pakistan’s Permanent Representative to the United Nations, Pakistan’s Ambassador to China, DG UN desk at Ministry of Foreign Affairs, DG Disarmament desk at MOFA and several other positions.
Masood Khan hails from the AJK’s Rawlakot area and belongs to Sudhanzai tribe.