Over the past few weeks, the political temperature of Azad Kashmir has been on the rise. Just before the start of Ramadan, audio leaks from the Azad Kashmir Prime Minister Raja Farooq Haider as he talks about senior Azad Kashmir leader former PM Sikander Hayat as a “dead horse” and a few emotional and vulgar comments on a female who had recently left their party, shook all sides of Azad Kashmir’s political spectrum. The comments which took AJK by storm, while they did not exactly surprise many, lead to open exhibitions in rifts of Pakistan Muslim League (N)’s AJK chapter and protests from opposition parties lead by PMLN’s chief rival in Azad Kashmir, All Jammu Kashmir Muslim Conference and various factions of women from all walks of life.
The AJK Premier while talking about an active women member who left the party described the issue with profanities seeped in toxic masculinity while directly saying that he had not threatened her for physical intercourse, and that in this perspective he did not see any other reason for her to leave the party. Further the Prime Minister mentioned various ground workers and clear narcissistic influence of their words and statements in the press, going so far as mentioning that he heard claims of city level workers saying that he had taken bribes in appointments of drivers. Unable to control his emotions about all the reports his son Usman had made to him, he decorated his sentences with consistent profanities and swear words about lower tiers of leadership as well as senior leader Sikander Hayat who had played a vital role to help the current premier in establishing PMLN in AJK and severing their previous Party, the Muslim Conference.
While Farooq Haider’s words about a female worker presented insight and proof to the deeply misogynistic political set up of the entire third world and his personal out look to women in politics, which resulted in protests from concerned women across the state. The Prime Minister just might have created a legal hindrance for his political maneuvering in the earlier part of his conversations, while he talks of his contemporaries and seniors.
Farooq Haider while complaining to his companion on Sikander Hayat’s behavior exclaimed that he had even told a senior minister in his cabinet Mr. Raja Qayyum that he knows full well how him and Sikander Hayat had “eaten money from pipes” referring to a possible corruption scenario in his knowledge when as he said Raja Qayyum was Chairman of local council and Sikander Hayat was the Prime Minister.
The aggressive recordings had several other matters discussed with expletives and crude remarks directed at workers, staff and a direct sexual remark towards women member while talking about her leaving their party. But the catch of the matter is while the PM has thrown away all moral legitimacy, he has also apparently broken the oath taken by him under the Third Schedule of the Azad Kashmir Interim Constitution to act “faithfully and honestly” in his dealings as Prime Minister of the state. Farooq Haider has not only admitted to having knowledge of corruption of select Minister, through this, he has made a direct confession of his unfaithfulness and dishonesty.
In hindsight, while the small amount of opposition seats push for a Vote of No Confidence and signs of breakage within PMLN AJK seem apparent swords over premiers head. A legal notice on the most practical misconduct might serve as the last nail in this coffin.