• CM usually moves with eight-man security detail
• Aide to CM snubs ‘discriminatory’ interior ministry order, vows to move court
• Accuses interior minister of trying to ‘create tiffs between units and federation’

GILGIT: After the interior ministry stopped the Gilgit-Baltistan (GB) chief minister and the governor from using regional police as their security detail during visits outside the region, CM’s aide Shamsul Haq Lone hit back at the interior minister, saying the regional government would challenge the directive in court.

The GB CM usually has a security detail of eight police personnel, led by an official of the rank of SP.

In a letter sent by the interior ministry to the GB chief secretary, chief secretaries and police chiefs of all provinces and Azad Kashmir and the chief commissioner and SP Islamabad, the federal government directed that security arrangements for the GB governor and Chief Minister Khalid Khurshid during their visits outside the region would be arranged by the respective provincial and regional governments. According to the letter, seen by Dawn, the GB government will not deploy its police officials for the security of the CM and the governor.

The communique drew a strong response from the aide to the CM, who condemned the move and announced that the GB government would not accept the order. He said the regional government would take the interior ministry to court for issuing such directives. The adviser called Interior Minister Rana Sanaullah “mentally unstable” for attempting to create such tiffs between the units and the federation.

“GB is a sensitive area, Rana Sanaullah played with the sentiments of two million people of the region,” Mr Lone said, accusing the minister of “hatching conspiracies to create a rift between the federal and GB governments.”

Referring to allegations of a standoff between GB and Punjab police personnel at Zaman Park earlier this month, Mr Lone said the allegations had already been rejected by the IG of Punjab.

The adviser also called out the discriminatory interior ministry order and asked, “Did the ministry also ask other provinces for such measures?”

On March 15, the federal government transferred GB police chief Muhammad Saeed from his post in the wake of the information minister’s claim that GB police personnel were being used against Punjab police in the latter’s attempt to arrest PTI chief Imran Khan from his Zaman Park residence in Lahore.

Published in Dawn, March 26th, 2023

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