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Human rights delegation: ‘I want to be the PM, why deny me the right’, says G-B lawmaker

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GILGIT:The senators’ visit to Gilgit-Baltistan’s (G-B) Assembly stirred emotions in the house on Tuesday.

HunzaNews April 30th, 2014.

The nine-member delegation arrived in Gilgit on Sunday to look into human rights issues faced by the people of G-B. For the lawmakers, the biggest problem remains discrimination felt by G-B by virtue of not having a constitutional status similar to other provinces of the country.

Led by Afrasiab Khattak, the senators – including Farhatullah Babar, Mushahid Hussain, Nasreen Jalil, and Zahid Khan – turned up at the assembly during its 35th session, chaired by Speaker Wazir Baig.

“Taking advantage of your presence, I want to bring to your notice that we want to be a part of Pakistan, but alas we have been denied this opportunity so far,” complained agriculture minister Nisar Sarbaz, addressing the senators sitting in the gallery. “Our desire is contrary to what secessionist groups in the country want.”

Citing examples of discrimination, Sarbaz asserted the annual development budget being provided to G-B is insufficient to meet corresponding requirements.

G-B Minister for Water and Power Didar Ali made a similar plea soon after. “G-B is a sensitive part of the country and deserves special attention,” said the minister. “The parties in G-B have a consensus about joining Pakistan though their approaches may differ,” added Ali.

As his speech went on, the speaker intervened, asking him to put off the issue for another time. However, Didar was not one to be silenced. “I will not stop. I want to be the prime minister of Pakistan one day, but I am not allowed to be so; why this discrimination against me?”

The power minister requested the senators to help remove the constitutional barrier that bars G-B’s representation in Parliament.

Earlier, Jamiat Ulema-e-Islam-Fazl’s Rahmat Khaliq asked the speaker to suspend routine proceedings and allow legislators to speak on core issues confronted by G-B. However, his request was ignored.

Speaking with The Express Tribune after the session, Mushahid Hussain said the issue taken up by the lawmakers was “just”, stating he would take up it with the right people. “We are the ears and eyes of the people. We will definitely take it up when we are back.”

Meanwhile, the house unanimously adopted a resolution to express solidarity with the Pakistan Army. The resolution also condemned the attack on Hamid Mir, calling for an arrest of those who ambushed the senior journalist in Karachi. 

Express Tribune

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