Bilawal hits out at govt as five GB independents join PTI

Updated 20 Nov 2020

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In this Oct 31 file photo, PPP chairman Bilawal Bhutto-Zardari addresses a rally in Gilgit Baltistan. — DawnNewsTV/File
In this Oct 31 file photo, PPP chairman Bilawal Bhutto-Zardari addresses a rally in Gilgit Baltistan. — DawnNewsTV/File

GILGIT: As the Pakistan Tehreek-i-Insaf (PTI) is set to form its government in Gilgit-Baltistan (GB) with the inclusion of five independents in the party, Pakistan Peoples Party (PPP) chairman Bilawal Bhutto-Zardari claimed that the PTI government in Islamabad would be sent packing by January next year.

“We have to send Imran Khan packing because he has failed on every front whether (it’s) Kashmir cause or Covid-19. This PTI government does not have the capacity,” he said while talking to journalists on Thursday.

The PPP chairman praised the people of GB for making it difficult for the PTI to form the government in the region and appealed to the winning independent candidates not to trade their victories with a government which was about to end.

“Do not become a minister for two to three months,” he said, asking the independent candidates to protect the rights of GB people.

He said the PTI was “cheating independents” by telling each one of them that he was a candidate for the chief minister’s post.

Mr Bhutto-Zardari said the people of GB had shown their trust in the opposition parties by polling more votes for them than the PTI.

He appealed to the people to vote for the PPP during the by-elections on GBLA-3 Gilgit, scheduled to be held on Nov 22.

He again accused the GB chief election commissioner (CEC) of playing a biased role in the elections.

He said a journalist had recently tweeted a photograph of the CEC sitting with the GB governor and federal minister Ali Amin Gandapur. He asked the CEC to clarify his position over the photograph.

He said reports of the Human Rights Commission of Pakistan and Free and Fair Election Network clearly showed that rigging and violation of election laws did happen in the GB elections.

He said he would expose the GB poll rigging at the public meeting of the Pakistan Democratic Movement in Peshawar on Nov 22.

“We will tell the people that the slogan of Vote per daaka namanzoor is gaining momentum in GB,” he said.

“We have a programme of public gatherings, then a long march and then resignations from parliament and we will do everything necessary to send Imran Khan home,” he said.

Independents

Meanwhile, the PTI now has the support of 16 members in the 33-member GBLA as five independent winners on Thursday announced their decision to join the party.

All these independents were aspirants for PTI tickets and contested the elections although they were denied the ticket.

Those who joined the PTI are Wazir Muhammad Saleem, Raja Nasir Ali Khan, Mushtaq Hussain, Abdul Hameed and Javed Ali Manwa.

These independents formally joined the party at various functions and in the presence of PTI’s chief organiser Saifullah Nyazee, federal Minister for Kashmir Affairs and GB Gandapur and GB Governor Raja Jalal Hussain.

On the other hand, GB CEC Raja Shehbaz again rejected rigging allegations and asked the political parties to submit evidence of fraud to the election commission. He claimed fairness in the election process had been hailed at the national and international levels.

He said official results of 20 constituencies had already been declared and the results for GBLA-2, GBLA-17 and GBLA-21 had been delayed on the request of the candidates for recounting of votes.

Sources said that another independent winner Haji Shah Baig was expected to join the PTI on Friday (today). With his inclusion, the PTI will manage to acquire the magical figure of 17 seats, which was required to form the government.

Mr Baig is a former opposition leader in the GBLA and had contested the election as an independent candidate after he was denied a ticket by the Jamiat Ulema-i-Islam-F.

Published in Dawn, November 20th, 2020