GILGIT: Pakistan Tehreek-e Insaf (PTI) has announced new office bearers for their Gilgit-Baltistan chapter, with Raja Jalal installed as the new president.
According to a notification issued by PTI Secretary General Jahangir Tareen, Raja will be the regional president, with Shah Nasir supporting him as the vice president while Fatehullah will be the regional general secretary.
The decision has left the party divided in a region which has been a favourite picnic point for party chief Imran Khan.
Sunday’s notifications have given rise to discontent among the older cadre of the party in the region. It makes no mention of Hashmatullah Khan, who, as convener of the party, was the de-facto president and is also one of the people that established the party in the region.
While other mainstream parties including the Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz (PML-N) and Pakistan Peoples Party (PPP) fully backed their candidates in G-B during the legislative assembly elections in 2015, PTI had deserted its candidates. The result was resounding electoral defeat, as the party could only muster one seat.
Meanwhile, Jalal had joined PTI in G-B after quitting the (PPP) on the eve of the GBLA elections. However, the switch could not prevent him from losing his seat to PML-N’s Akbar Taban.
Fatehullah, the new general secretary, had joined PTI around the same time as Jalal after defecting from the PML-N.“The new nominations are another move by the PTI to push back longtime friends and allies,” a party insider said on Sunday.
“This policy is suicidal,” said the dejected leader, who asked not to be named.
PTI had established its regional arm in G-B in 2011, with Abdul Latif appointed as the first provincial president and Mahmoodul Hassan as the senior vice-president.
However, both leaders left PTI in 2015 to join the PML-N, accusing the central leadership of ignoring the region.
The latest development means the party risks being split between at least two camps in the region. In a meeting held recently, supporters of Hashmatullah Khan slammed the central leadership for bypassing him and installing a newcomer as the regional chief and refused to cooperate with the new team.
“We will not allow anyone to parachute in and usurp our rights,” said another worker.
When contacted, Hashmatullah Khan said office bearers must be chosen while prioritising the interest of the party.
“I hope sanity will prevail and Imran Khan takes a decision in the larger interest of the party and its workers,” Khan told The Express Tribune.
Published in The Express Tribune, January 30th, 2017.
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