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GILGIT: A video involving Gilgit-Baltistan chief secretary Babar Hayat Tarar reprimanding a local went viral on social media, triggering protests on Monday.

Political parties in GBLA, civil society and students’ organisations condemned the remarks of chief secretary and termed them insulting to GB people.

The protesters demanded immediate transfer of the top official from the region.

Mr Tarar, after visiting the district headquarters hospital, Ghanche, on Sunday, was confronted by representatives of a local welfare organisation, complaining about absence of gynaecologist in the hospital, leading to increased mother and child deaths.

The secretary general of the organisation, Khadim Hussain told chief secretary that not a single gynaecologist existed in the hospital, which annoyed the chief secretary, who rather complained that the GB people did not pay taxes despite the fact that the federal government extended billions of rupees to the region.

The chief secretary is also seen in the video snubbing the organisation’s official for calling the region a disputed territory, repeating how much taxes the people paid to the national kitty.

The chief secretary’s remarks triggered a complete shutter down and wheel-jam strike in Ghanche on Monday. The protest call was given by the welfare organisation Khapulo.

The protesters burnt tyres and chanted slogans against the chief secretary. A large number of political activists belonging to PPP, PTI, PML-N, and students participated.

The protesters alleged that behaviour of GB chief secretary was humiliating, saying if the chief secretary was not removed, they would start protests after Eid.

Meanwhile, opposition leader in GBLA Mohammad Shafi Khan, PPP president Amjad Hussain, PTI president Raja Jalal, and civil society activists condemned the remarks of CS, demanding inquiry into the incident.

Published in Dawn, June 12th, 2018