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Rocking the boat: Rifts brew in PPP’s G-B chapter as Mehdi Shah loses popularity

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GILGIT: Internal dissent is reportedly brewing within the Pakistan Peoples Party in Gilgit-Baltistan with Chief Minister Mehdi Shah losing popularity amongst the party’s ranks.
HunzaNews, August 24th, 2014.

“There have been several corner meetings and it has been agreed to launch a joint struggle to oust Mehdi Shah,” a senior PPP leader told The Express Tribune on Saturday. “Jafar Shah has agreed to lead the party if assigned the task by the central leadership. And efforts are under way to install him as quickly as possible.”

According to insiders, ministers Mohammad Jaffar, Muhammad Ismail, Muhammad Naseer and other prominent leaders have asked Jafar Shah to step in to salvage the party.

Jafar Shah was the president of PPP’s Gilgit chapter till 2008 but then chose to become a judge at the Supreme Appellate Court. He retired in 2011 after serving as a judge for three years.

Some senior leaders, meanwhile, have contacted the National Assembly Opposition Leader Khursheed Shah to convey grievances of the regional leadership to PPP co-chairperson Asif Ali Zardari.

Mehdi Shah has also been accused of bypassing senior leaders during decision making, drawing criticism from disgruntled party members.

In an earlier interview with The Express Tribune, PPP leader Amjad Hussain had predicted a dismal defeat for the PPP in the coming elections in G-B if Mehdi Shah remains the party’s president.

Hussain said he asked Asif Ali Zardari to intervene and appoint a reasonable person to head the party in G-B where elections are expected to be held in December or early next year.

“Mehdi Shah has ruined the party during his four-year tenure as the chief minister. That’s why the senior leadership has turned against him,” said another leader privy to meetings held behind closed doors.

PPP G-B General Secretary Aftab Haider is however adamant Mehdi Shah still enjoys full confidence of his cabinet and other party members. “There is no grouping in the party. Mehdi Shah has the confidence of his colleagues,” Haider told reporters. “And let me tell you, this could be a wish of a couple [of leaders], but that doesn’t mean Shah is gone.”

Express Tribune

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