ISLAMABAD - The ruling Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) Monday announced to form an electoral alliance and make a seat adjustment with Majlis-e-Wahdatul Muslimeen (MWM) for the upcoming elections of Legislative Assembly of Gilgit-Baltistant (GB).

PTI leadership made this announcement while addressing a joint press conference along with leaders of MWM, a political party representing Shia school of Islamic thought.

Minister for Information Shibli Faraz, Federal Minister for Kashmir Affairs and Gilgit-Baltistan Ali Amin Khan Gandapur and Vice President PTI Arshad represented the ruling party while leader of MWM including Nasir Abbas Shah and Asad Abbas Naqvi were also present in the news conference. 

For this purpose, PTI has decided to make a seat adjustment with MWM and two seats have been given to the latter out of the total 24 general seats of the GB Legislative Assembly. 

Vice President PTI and president of party’s parliamentary board for GB Arshad Dad on the occasion announced names of 20 candidates of the party for the same number of general seats. He said that the decision had been kept pending for two seats. He said that the board had interviewed 100 candidates and made the decision to give party tickets after thoroughly scrutinising their credentials. A couple of days ago, the head of MWM Allama Raja Nasir Abbas had called on Prime Minister Imran Khan to finalise the electoral alliance with the ruling party in GB.

PTI says giving provisional provincial status to GB will not affect Pakistan’s stance on Kashmir

Last week, President Dr Arif Alvi had announced that elections for the Legislative Assembly of GB would be held on Nov 15.

The elections for GB were earlier scheduled to be held on Aug 18 but were later postponed due to outbreak of Covid-19. The five-year term of the previous assembly had ended on June 24.

Addressing the joint press conference, Minister for Kashmir Affairs and Gilgit-Baltistan said PTI government was going to give provisional provincial status to strategically-located GB in the light of demand of people of the area. “The provincial status has been the longstanding demand of the people of GB.”  He said that they had consulted all stakeholders including government of Azad Jammu & Kashmir (AJK), Hurriyat leadership, international experts, and all others whether or not giving provisional provincial status to GB will adversely affect Pakistan’s stance on Kashmir. He said it has been a unanimous view that giving provisional provincial status to GB will not affect Pakistan’s stance on Kashmir.  

At the same time, the minister said that opposition was doing “dirty politics” over this matter as two-third majority in the parliament would be required to pass a constitutional amendment for giving provincial status to GB. It would not be possible without the cooperation of the opposition, he added.   Gandapur said government wanted reforms and transparent elections in GB and has invited the opposition to come forward in this regard. He said any positive suggestion from the opposition would be welcomed. 

He also said that the PTI government was going to provide special health-card facility to hundred percent population of GB. He said a modern cardiac center will be established in the area as well as small hospitals and basic health units will be provided with all necessary facilities. He said that establishment of a medical college and engineering university in GB are also on the cards. 

Ali Amin Gandapur said soft loans of worth two billion rupees would be provided to the people of GB for the promotion of tourism in the area. 

Regarding road infrastructure, he said a tunnel at Babusar Top would be constructed, while a road to connect Khyber Pakhtunkhwa and GB has already been approved. He said the PTI government has approved setting up of a Special Economic Zone under China-Pakistan Economic Corridor and an industrial zone in GB to create job opportunities for the youth of the area. 

MWM leader Nasir Abbas Shah said that his party had decided to make an electoral alliance with PTI on one-point agenda of giving constitutional rights to the people of area. “Our seat adjustment and alliance with PTI will not only last long till polls but also it would remain intact post-elections,” he said adding that they were getting smaller share of seats than their size but they had managed and sacrificed this only for larger interest of the area. The purpose is to bring reforms and make development of GB, he concluded.