Governor Gilgit-Baltistan, Pir Karam Ali Shah, has said that the recent televised address of Prime Minister, Nawaz Sharif, has “lifted our spirits.” He expressed the views during a meeting with the Federal Minister of Kashmir Affairs and Gilgit Baltistan, Ch. Muhammad Barjees Tahir, at his office in Islamabad.
Mr. Shah, who was appointed as governor of GB under the government of the Pakistan Peoples Party (PPP), told Mr. Tahir that the country’s PM has lots of challenges to face and lots of problems to work out, adding that Mr. Sharif has so far handled every situation and problem with iron will. He further said the people of GB have greater hopes attached to Mr. Sharif’s government.
The governor of GB also applauded Mr. Tahir’s performance as Federal Minister for Kashmir Affairs and GB, saying “you played a greater role in axing corruption in the GB government and replaced corrupt officer by diligent and sincere ones.” He also told the federal minister that the GB government will tackle every problem head-on with his cooperation.
The seasoned politician of Pakistan Muslim League (N), political rival of PPP, assured PPP’s Mr. Shah that his government is ready to extend every type of help and cooperation to the government of GB. While speaking about the weeks old Chilas massacre, the federal minister said he is in contact with relevant authorities who are investigating the incident and that the culprits will be brought to justice.
It is pertinent to note that recent media reports hinted that Prime Minister Sharif had planned to replace the governor of GB with a PML (N) stalwart. The GB chapter of PML (N) had also provided a list of potential candidates to their central leadership for contemplation.
Sources at the GB Governor House told Mountain TV that Mr. Tahir has assured Mr. Shah to take solid actions for progress of the region. “He has also pledged to explore and use natural resources of GB for development of the area,” the source said.
The two leaders also expressed confidence in the Sharif’s brothers Economic Corridor plan that proposes to connect Pakistan’s Gwadar Port with China through rail and highway link, cutting through the lofty mountain ranges of GB. The two politicians agreed that the plan, if implemented, would bring prosperity not only to GB, but to the whole of Pakistan. It is pertinent to mention here that formation of economic zones, construction of gas/oil pipelines from Pakistan to China and fiber optic connection between the two countries is also part of the what some call grand plan.
Source suggested that PML (N) has already decided to replace the GB governor. The party’s potential candidates for the position include Fida Muhammad Nashad, former speaker of the legislative council, Malik Maskeen, former member of the council, Sultan Madad, divisional president of the PML-N, Shabbir Wali, president of the party’s Gilgit district, Abid Ali Baig and Jaffarullah Khan.