The government appears to be in trouble following the introduction of reforms package for Gilgit-Baltistan which has been ‘rejected’ by the joint opposition. The latter has also asked the chief minister to step down.

“The government and the chief minister are traitors because they have sold out the region’s interest for the sake of a dummy package,” G-B Opposition Leader Muhammad Shafi Khan told reporters in Gilgit this week referring to the reforms package known as “Order 2018”.

The package was prepared by a committee headed by Sartaj Aziz over the past two years, suggesting bringing G-B on a par with the rest of the provinces. However, sources privy to the matter said that the proposal failed to see the light of day as certain quarters reportedly raised concerns citing the Kashmir issue.

However, Prime Minister Shahid Khaqan Abbasi will formally announce the launch of the Order 2018 in Gilgit in the coming days, officials at the chief minister secretariat said.

“Like his mentor Nawaz Sharif, chief minister Hafeez will soon be calling ‘mujhe qion nikala’,” said Javed Hussain, a Pakistan Peoples Party (PPP) lawmaker in Gilgit.

As part of the agitation this week, opposition parties held protest rallies in Islamabad, Ghizer, Skardu and other valleys rejecting the Order 2018. “We have no minute details about what the order contains but we know that the order doesn’t say anything about G-B constitutional status,” said Awami Action Committee Chairman Sultan Raees. “We reject it and will protest till this order is revoked and new one is introduced in consultation with the people.”

Chief Minister Hafeezur Rehman told The Express Tribune that the package was tabled and approved in National Security Committee meeting attended by prime minister and army chief among others so there is no point in criticizing the government. He added that the region has got more financial powers as a result of the package.

It is widely believed that the fate of G-B government will be decided once the PML-N government at the centre completes its term and a caretaker setup assumes charge.
Published by Tribune