Gilgit-Baltistan: Govt To Replace GB Governor with a PML-N Stalwart

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ISLAMABAD (Dawn): The ruling Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz (PML-N), which has so far replaced only two of the five governors appointed by President Asif Ali Zardari, plans to change the remaining governors soon after Eid and consultations within the party on the matter have already begun, sources in the party told Dawn.

The sources said Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif had decided to replace the governor of Gilgit-Baltistan with a party loyalist and the local chapter of the party had provided a list of potential candidates to their central leadership for consideration. The list, the sources said, contained the names of Fida Muhammad Nashad, former speaker of the legislative council, Malik Maskeen, former member of the council, Sultan Madad, divisional president of the PML-N, Shabbir Wali, president of the party’s Gilgit district, Abid Ali Baig and Jaffarullah Khan.

The sources said that Prince Mir Ghazanfar Ali of Hunza was also in the run for the governor’s slot.

When contacted, Federal Minister for Kashmir Affairs and Gilgit-Baltistan Chaudhry Barjees Tahir said he was not aware of any move in the federal government to appoint a new governor in GB. He also expressed his ignorance about the names that had been provided by the PML-N’s local chapter to the party leadership for appointment as governor.

On the other hand, chief coordinator of the party for Kashmir and GB Siddiqul Farooque confirmed that the government had decided to replace present GB governor Pir Karam Ali Shah and a PML-N’s stalwart would be appointed in his place. Without giving any details, he said the new governor would be appointed after consultation with the office-bearers of the PML-N’s GB chapter.

The seat of the governor in the GB was created in September 2009 when President Zardari granted a special status to the region. Former minister for Kashmir Affairs and Northern Areas Qamar Zaman Kaira took the charge of the first acting governor in September 2009 and continued in the office till March 2010.

Later, Dr Shama Khalid became the first governor of the GB in March 2010, but she died in September 2010 due to illness. Present Governor Pir Karam Ali Shah has been in the office since January 2011.

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