GILGIT (ET): The number of contenders for Gilgit-Baltistan’s (G-B) governorship is multiplying.
“There are so many hopefuls the list is swelling each day,” a Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz (PML-N) spokesperson at the regional secretariat said on Saturday.
Incumbent G-B Governor Pir Karam Ali Shah was appointed by outgoing president Asif Ali Zardari in January 2011 after Shah’s predecessor Dr Shama Khalid died in September 2010. Shah continues to retain the office even though Pakistan People’s Party has been replaced by PML-N in the centre following the general elections.
PML-N President Hafizur Rahman in G-B expressed the desire to replace Shah with a party candidate a day after PML-N emerged as the largest party in the May 11 polls. However, no decision has been taken so far.
Regional leaders covet for governorship, hoping to get the post in return for what they claim as their ‘sacrifices.’ Such contenders include Sultan Madad, Mir Ghazanfar Ali Khan, Malik Miskeen, Jafarullah, Fida Mohammad Nashad and Shabbir Wali. However, this has been considered a violation of party discipline and some of them have been served show-cause notices in recent days as a result.
“In an attempt to grab the lucrative positions, the contenders are desperately using all sorts of tactics to convince Hafizur Rahman,” said Amjad Ali, a party worker. “They have threatened to quit the party if ignored.”
Two new aspirants, Dr Sher Bahadur Anjum and Dr Mohammad Younas, have also surfaced lately.
Dr Anjum, originally from Astore, is reportedly settled in England. He has served the Sharif brothers well while they were in exile. He enjoys good personal ties with the prime minister and the Punjab chief minister.
Dr Anjum recently held a press conference, in Islamabad, along with Lord Nazir Ahmed— a member of the House of Lords—and the G-B Chief Minister Mehdi Shah to make a good impression on the party’s top leadership. However, days after returning to Gilgit, he said he had left the matter at the discretion of Hafizur Rahman and would accept the decision of the party’s regional leadership.
Dr Mohammad Younas claims to be one of the founding members of PML-N in G-B. He has ‘kept the party going during hard times.’
“On the directives of the prime minister’s office, we have already recommended a few names for the slot,” said the regional spokesperson of PML-N. Another insider, however, maintained the list does not include the names of either of the doctors.