By Shabbir Mir
GILGIT: Leaders of Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz in Astore Valley in Gilgit-Baltistan withdrew their resignations, saying they had resigned due to a series of misunderstandings.
The decision came a day after party leaders in Astore, led by vice president Advocate Muhammad Iqbal, resigned over the prime minister’s failure to announce development projects for their region during his visit to Gilgit.
Speaking at a news conference at Gilgit Press Club on Thursday, Iqbal said PML-N leaders had acted under pressure from the public after Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif failed to mention Astore in his speech.
“Our decision was prompted by a series of misunderstandings which have been removed by PML-N G-B President Hafizur Rahman,” he said. “As a result, we have decided to withdraw our resignations.”
Road to progress
Speaking on the occasion, the party’s regional president praised leaders for registering their protest in a democratic manner.
“Nawaz omitted Astore Valley from his speech which he had to cut short due to bad weather as he had to fly back to Islamabad,” Rahman said.
“There was a strong likelihood that the flight to Islamabad would get cancelled due to deteriorating weather conditions.” According to the provincial president, the federal government had planned a series of development projects for Astore Valley.
“The government plans to construct Shontar Pass Road which will connect Astore with Muzaffarabad,” he said. “The project is worth Rs92 billion and is included in the Federal Public Sector Development Programme (PSDP),” said Rahman.
He added the prime minister also plans to approve other projects for the welfare of Astore Valley’s residents.
“G-B will have three more highways in the coming years,” he said. “The proposed Gilgit expressway will connect the region with Chitral and the project will be included in the Federal PSDP next year. Moreover, the Babusar tunnel project will be initiated soon.”
Nawaz had visited Gilgit on Tuesday and announced a number of development projects for the region. The following day, Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf leadership in Gilgit-Baltistan termed these development schemes a clear attempt to woo voters before the legislative assembly elections in June.
Published in The Express Tribune, April 17th, 2015.