By Shabbir Mir
GILGIT: Just as electioneering gains momentum in Gilgit-Baltistan, the Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz has wasted no time in announcing its manifesto for the June 8 polls.
In a ceremony held at the party’s central secretariat in Gilgit, PML-N regional chief Hafizur Rehman distributed copies of the document amongst attendees on Wednesday.
While others are still weighing options, seeing important leaders jump ship, PML-N is the first to announce its plans for G-B. “This is the difference between us and them,” Rehman told the gathering. “We seek support on the basis of our policy declarations while others resort to sectarian and ethnic gimmicks to woo voters.”
Talking about the plans mentioned in the manifesto, he said creation of employment opportunities, improving infrastructure and governance and putting an end to corruption are some of the key priorities. “Tourism is the mainstay of our economy and we want to capitalise on it through tourist-friendly policies,” he said.
PML-N has emerged as the only party to field candidates in all 24 constituencies of G-B. Meanwhile Pakistan Peoples Party and PTI have pitted 22 and 21 candidates respectively.
Former minister and Pakistan Muslim League-Quaid leader Bashir Ahmed defected to PPP on Wednesday. Losing Ahmed is being seen as a major blow for Chaudhary Shujaat Hussain’s party as two other leaders – Amina Ansari and Mirza Hussain – have already joined Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf. Ahmed announced his decision during a ceremony in Chilas, Diamer Valley. “PPP is close to my heart and I will try my best to see the party through in the upcoming polls,” he said.
Ahmed started his political career with PML-N. When General (retd) Pervez Musharraf took over, he was among the many leaders who joined the newly-formed “King’s party”.
Published in The Express Tribune, May 28th, 2015.