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G-B’s ruling party terminates alliance with PML-Q

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GILGIT: Gilgit-Baltistan (G-B) Chief Minister (CM) Mehdi Shah on Tuesday announced the termination of the ruling Pakistan Peoples Party’s (PPP) alliance with the Pakistan Muslim League-Quaid (PML-Q), terming the latter’s members “snakes in the grass”.

HunzaNews May 7th, 2014.

After assuming power in G-B in 2010, the PPP forged an alliance with PML-Q, Jamiat Ulema-e-Islam-Fazl (JUI-F) and Muttahida Qaumi Movement (MQM) under then president Asif Ali Zardari’s policy of reconciliation. This was in spite of PPP’s two-thirds majority in the legislative assembly. PML-Q resultantly joined the coalition government the following year and a senior leader of the party, Bashir Ahmed, was made minister for works.

The fallout, however, was triggered by allegations of corruption leveled by one of PML-Q’s lawmakers Mirza Hussain during the 35th session of the G-B Assembly in Gilgit.

“Enough is enough. I am taking this decision as the party chief,” Shah said on the floor of the house. He said he would now supervise the works ministry himself and that patching things up could be an option, but only when Hussain and other PML-Q legislators offer an unconditional apology in writing.

“If we are corrupt or thieves, why has his (Hussain’s) party not parted ways with us?” questioned the chief minister while addressing Speaker Wazir Baig who was chairing the session.

Shah lamented Mirza Hussain’s attitude and said even opposition members did not behave the way the PML-Q leader did in the past three years with the government. “PML-Q lawmakers are like snakes in the grass who keep on attacking us despite enjoying privileges from the government.”

Hussain had earlier termed the government and its ministers “corrupt”, saying they “plundered national wealth” during their years in power. This later prompted Minister for Agriculture Sheikh Nisar to object, saying he wanted to move a privilege motion against Hussain.

Adviser on Forests Aftab Haider also endorsed Nisar’s remarks and asked Hussain to either be silent or substantiate his allegations with evidence.

Talking to The Express Tribune after the session, Hussain ruled out the option of tendering an apology to the chief minister.

“What I have said is correct and I stand by it,” said Hussain, adding he would not beg pardon even if his party chief Chaudhry Shujaat asked for it.

Meanwhile, the chief minister assured the house Secretary Services Saad Khan would either be posted out or made an officer on special duty (OSD) for making “derogatory remarks” about G-B lawmakers.

Khan had allegedly termed the legislators “incompetent” and opposed the delegation of powers to them during a meeting with the nine-member senate functional committee that visited Gilgit recently to investigate human rights violations in G-B. “I have talked to the chief secretary in this regard,” said CM Shah.

PML-N leaders decry slash in funds

Fida Nashad and Sultan Ali of the Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz (PML-N) accused the government of discrimination in allocating funds. They also threatened to move court if their grievances were not addressed.

Bill passed

The house passed a bill to regularise nearly 180 contract employees from grade 1 to 18. The G-B Contract Employees Regularization of Service Act 2014 was earlier passed by the assembly in March, but was returned by the governor, suggesting changes.

After the changes, it was again tabled in the assembly on Tuesday and was passed by the lawmakers with a majority.

Express Tribune

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