G-B governor distances himself from disparaging remarks

Lawmakers from Diamer region, youth criticise reported comments

Shabbir Mir December 22, 2016

GILGIT: Gilgit-Baltistan (G-B) Governor Mir Ghazanfar Ali on Thursday distanced himself from a statement attributed to him.

The statement, reported in the vernacular press, had the governor reportedly referring to the people of Diamer as being “Taliban-minded” and needing “madrasas but not a university”. The comment had sparked unrest in Diamer valley.

On Thursday, he attempted to clear the air surrounding the statements and the status of a university which is supposed to be built in the valley.

“Let me be clear that the words attributed to me aren’t mine,” Ali told media in his office.

“I am being blamed for the delay in the [construction of a] university campus in Diamer, but that is not the reality,” he said, adding that he was ready to support lawmakers from Diamer in their endeavour.

“The reality is that you have to work hard to get the orders implemented and a university campus too requires your [lawmakers from Diamer] hard work,” said Ali, whose father was the last Mir of Hunza.

Lawmakers from Diamer valley in the G-B Legislative Assembly including Minister for Agriculture Haji Janbaz, Minister for Women Development and Youth Affairs Sobia Muqaddam, Minister for Forests Imran Wakil, Opposition Leader Shah Baig and Haider Khan, had accused the governor of insulting people from their region.

“The governor is biased and therefore doesn’t deserve to remain the governor of the region,” said Janbaz during a meeting in Gilgit.

“We will not tolerate these humiliating remarks,” said the lawmaker while referring to the governor’s alleged remarks without specifying where exactly these remarks had been made.

“The governor is the biggest hurdle in Diamer’s progress. We should send a reference to President [Mamnoon Hussain] against him so that he is relieved of this important post,” the angry lawmakers said.

Besides the lawmakers, large number of youth turned to social media to flay the governor for his alleged remarks.

“[The] governor should realise that the people of Diamer are more politically aware and independent enough to make decisions,” posted a youth on social media. “The governor doesn’t want us to progress, he wants us to remain in the dark ages,” said another activist.

Speaking to The Express Tribune, Muqaddam said, “They [lawmakers from Diamer] met the governor, who clarified the issue and assured his support to people of Diamer.”

“We had gotten various complaints against governor but they are settled now.”

Published in The Express Tribune, December 23rd, 2016.


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