GILGIT: Gilgit-Baltis­tan Minister for Law, Par­liamentary Affairs and Health Syed Sohail Abbas Shah quit the cabinet on Friday by submitting his resignation to the governor.

However, Governor Syed Mehdi Shah has not acce­pted his resignation yet.

Sohail Abbas was elec­ted to the GB Assembly from constituency Gilgit-3 in the 2020 general elections on a Pakistan Tehre­ek-i-Insaf (PTI) ticket. He served as law minister during the PTI government led by former chief minister Khalid Khurshid Khan from 2020 till 2023. He was reappointed as GB Minister for Law, Health, and Parliamentary Affai­­rs by incumbent GB Chief Minister Haji Gulbar Khan in July last year.

In a statement, Sohail Abbas expressed his gratitude to the people of his constituency, PTI founder Imran Khan, party leadership, and PTI local president Khurshid Khan, who is also the former GB chief minister and assembly member. He stated he had tried to serve the public as a minister and had become part of the PTI like-min­ded group in the larger in­­terest of the region. How­ever, he had been disconnected from party leadership during the Chief Minister’s election.

Sohail Abbas said that for the past 10 months, he had tried his best to work independently, but there were attempts to interfere and dictate sensitive matters, which was not possible for him. He said that despite challenges, he had not compromised on any issue related to Gilgit-Baltistan. He criticised the current government for taking decisions, “dictated from elsewhere”, and accused them of making decisions based on nepotism and prejudices at the request of the CM and a few ministers.

Sources said that differences between Sohail Abbas and Chief Minister Haji Gulbar Khan emerged when the former reestablished contacts with PTI and ex-CM Khalid. The CM asked the minister to resign, but he refused to tender resignation then. However, recently, the chief minister initiated a summary to remove Sohail Abbas from his cabinet and sent it to the governor. To avoid the move, Sohail Abbas presented his resignation to the governor, stating: “I hereby tender my resignation as Minister for Health, Law, and Parliamentary Affairs, Government of Gilgit-Baltistan.”

Published in Dawn, May 18th, 2024

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