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G-B people aren’t a ‘saleable commodity’, says Imran

By Shabbir Mir

GILGIT-BALTISTAN: The head of Pakistan Tehreek Insaf (PTI) Imran Khan on Thursday reprimanded the ruling Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz for announcing development funds ahead of Gilgit-Baltistan (G-B) elections, saying people of the region are not a “saleable commodity”.

“Mian sahib [Premier Nawaz] G-B is inhabited by humans, they aren’t a saleable commodity like those in Ittefaq Foundry,” he told his party workers during an election rally in Skardu’s Municipal Stadium on Thursday.

In a scathing attack on PPP co-chairman Asif Zardari and Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif, Imran asked them to explain why they had kept their assets and money in offshore banks and foreign countries if they were sincere with the country.

He advised people to ask political parties a few questions before casting their ballots in favour of them. “Ask parties a few questions before deciding to vote,” the PTI chief told an overwhelmed crowd. “Ask them why they take part in politics when they don’t bring their money back to the country. Why they avoid devolving powers to people at grassroots level? If they are able to satisfy you, go ahead and vote for them.”

In a swipe at the ruling PML-N and previous PPP-led government, he said those who ruled the country thrice didn’t do anything for the masses.

While commending his own party’s government in the Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa (K-P), Imran said his government is holding local body elections in K-P to introduce “real democracy”.

Since G-B has potential for power generation PTI will construct small dams like it has done in K-P for the benefit of people, he said, adding that G-B is more beautiful than Switzerland but the resources couldn’t be capitalised due to absence of real democracy. “I’m aware of the situation in G-B but that’s going to change now.”

The PTI chairman said he was happy to interact with G-B people and for that he had waited almost 19 years. “G-B will benefit the most from the Pakistan-China Economic Corridor project,” he told the gathering.

According to him, 2015 will be an election year and PTI will form the government after polls in the country.

In the wake of the third cancellation of flights in recent days, Imran Khan along with his wife Reham Khan, Chaudhry Sarwar Khan and Sayed Zulqarnain Shah flew off to Skardu town by a private aircraft to campaign for his party ahead of the June 8 G-B legislative assembly elections.

Published in The Express Tribune, May 29th, 201

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