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Neglecting G-B: PPP leader lashes out at party’s central leadership

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GILGIT: A senior leader of the Pakistan Peoples Party (PPP) has predicted the downfall of his own party in the upcoming elections in Gilgit-Baltistan (G-B).  The central leadership’s dismal interest in the region’s affairs will be the major factor behind PPP’s forecasted loss, claimed Amjad Hussain, a member of the G-B Council.

HunzaNews May 5th, 2014.

PPP attained a landslide victory in the November 2009 elections, getting more than two-thirds majority in the G-B Legislative Assembly. The party, however, opted to form a coalition government according to party co-chairman and,  then president, Asif Ali Zardari’s policy of reconciliation. “The situation this time is the other way round,” G-B Council member Hussain told The Express Tribune on Sunday. The council serves as the upper house and is chaired by the prime minister.

Hussain’s comments come months before G-B’s second elections under the 2009 governance order that upgraded the region’s status, bringing it somewhat at par with the rest of the provinces.

“What I foresee is that my party is going to face a disastrous situation in the near future; not because of tough competition but because of zero interest from the PPP central leadership.”

Hussain, a practising lawyer, has a reputation of being blunt and candid. He has openly opposed Chief Minister Mehdi Shah at several occasions and urged Zardari to relieve him from his role as the party president in G-B “to save the party”.

“Almost every other party has started preparations in one way or the other for the elections but PPP is sitting idle,” he confided. The PPP has received several setbacks recently – one being the sacking of nearly 1,000 employees inducted in the government. In addition, the recently-formed Awami Action Committee (AAC) has also dealt a blow to PPP’s reputation in the region as it brought down wheat prices that had increased over the past year. AAC is a group of over 20 national, political and religious parties in G-B that recently undertook massive protests across the region to lower the price of wheat. The subsidy had been placed under prime minister Zulfikar Ali Bhutto.

“PPP doesn’t rule the centre anymore. It has lost its edge to influence voters in the coming elections,” said the politician.

He flayed Zardari for neglecting G-B and said the party’s seniors would repent one day for what they have done. Elections are due later this year as the assembly completes its five year term.

Express Tribune

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