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November 2, 2020

Gilgit-Baltistan to get provisional provincial status post-election: PM Imran

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APP
November 2, 2020

By News Desk

GILGIT: Prime Minister Imran Khan said on Sunday his government will grant Gilgit-Baltistan (GB) provisional provincial status after the forthcoming elections in the territory as he attacked those “speaking the language of Narendra Modi” and promised the nation will see “whose legs shake and whose foreheads sweat” in the coming days.

In a speech at the 73rd Independence Day celebrations of Gilgit-Baltistan here at the FCNA helipad ground, the Prime Minister said the decision to grant GB provisional provincial status fulfils a longstanding demand of the territory’s citizens and has been made within the parameters of the United Nations Security Council’s resolutions.

The Prime Minister assailed the opposition, saying after putting the economy on the right track, his next focus is to ensure the rule of law in the country and take “powerful criminals — those who have been blackmailing national institutions — to task”.

“Now, I will personally oversee the state institutions to establish rule of law in the country and bring under law the powerful criminals who are trying to blackmail them,” Khan said. “Insha’Allah, in the coming days, you will see whose legs shake and whose foreheads sweat,” the Prime Minister said.

On November 1, 1947, GB’s people led by the Gilgit Scouts, stood against Dogra Governor Brigadier Ghansara Singh and arrested him. They also announced GB’s liberation from Dogra rule and hoisted the national flag of Pakistan.

The Prime Minister, who was accompanied by Minister for Kashmir Affairs and Gilgit-Baltistan Ali Amin Gandapur, said in Islamic history, Muslims fought and ruled successfully until they were “ditched by traitors like Mir Jafar and Mir Sadiq” for their personal gain.

“Today, we are seeing Pakistan’s Mir Jafar, Mir Sadiq and Mir Ayaz Sadiq,” he said, referring to the PML-N leader who sparked controversy with his claims about the circumstances of Indian pilot Abhinandan Varthaman’s release. “These are the people, who are speaking the language of Narendra Modi,” Khan said.

Khan, who wore a traditional white Gilgit cap with a peacock plume, told the audience that the way Pakistan had conducted itself after the Pulwama incident was lauded by leaders the world over, but he (Ayaz Sadiq) alleged that Pakistan acted under pressure, which was also the electioneering slogan of Narendra Modi.

The Prime Minister said the sole objective of such a tirade was just to “pressure and blackmail the government to get an NRO (National Reconciliation Ordinance) for their corruption of billions of rupees”.

“I want to tell my nation today that Imran Khan will never forgive these looters,” the Prime Minister vowed. “The judiciary was good when they [PML-N supremo Nawaz Sharif] were acquitted in the Hudaibiya case, but when a five-member bench ruled against this person — who has absconded abroad — for money laundering, then it (judiciary) became bad (for them),” he remarked. He added: “So-called democratic people are trying to discredit the Pakistan Army and the judiciary.”

Referring to his maiden address after assuming office, the Prime Minister said he had predicted that the opposition parties would unite against him as his 24-year struggle was to purge the country of corruption. According to him, the interests of Pakistan and those of the opposition “are opposed to each other”.

Khan said they “tried to blackmail” him for alleged election rigging, economic crisis, Covid-19, and even FATF (Financial Action Task Force) related legislation, “despite knowing Indian efforts to push Pakistan in its blacklist”.

“Now they have pointed guns at the Pakistan Army, the Army chief and ISI (Inter-Services Intelligence) Director General. If they are speaking against the Army chief and the ISI chief, it means I had picked the right people. My selection was totally right and I specially thank Allah for it. If these looters are speaking against them, it means they are good people,” he said. The Prime Minister said a strong military was important for the security of a nation and prevented the country from the situation faced by other Muslim countries like Libya, Somalia, Syria, Yemen, Afghanistan and Iraq due to the wars. He said India got the most “extremist, anti-Muslim and anti-Pakistan government, which is focused on the supremacy of Hindutva, marginalising the Muslims in India and Kashmir through enforcing multiple discriminatory laws”.

Considering the very facts, he said, it was essential to have a strong army because it was the security forces which boldly stood against terrorism. Every other week, the security personnel sacrificed their lives in terror incidents in tribal areas, Balochistan and even Karachi.

He said the Indian government was not only trying to destabilise Pakistan through terror incidents, but also by fanning sectarianism too as had been disclosed by Indian spy Kulbhushan Jadhav. However, he appreciated the intelligence agencies for thwarting all Indian designs.

Khan, who is the first Prime Minister to attend the GB independence day celebrations for two consecutive years, visited the Martyrs’ Monument and laid a wreath there, congratulated the GB people on their independence day and paid tribute to the sacrifices by GB Scouts who liberated the region from Dogra rule.

He also extended greetings to the people over his government’s decision of granting the GB a provisional provincial status following the elections. Highlighting GB’s picturesque beauty, the Prime Minister said it was rich with the world’s unique mountain treks.

He declined to announce any development package for the region owing to the Election Commission of Pakistan’s restrictions ahead of the elections on November 15. PPP’s Bilawal Bhutto Zardari has been campaigning furiously in the territory.

GB Governor Raja Jalal Hussain, in his address, said the people of GB were patriotic and loved Pakistan, and were proud to be called as Pakistani citizens. He thanked the Prime Minister for his government’s decision to grant the GB the provisional provincial status, fulfilling the longstanding demand of the people, who had been demanding their region to be declared as Pakistan’s fifth province to get equal rights and opportunities.