Dr Muhammad Iqbal says home secretary refuses to relax lockdown in region. PHOTO: EXPRESS

G-B minister resigns after scuffle with senior bureaucrat over Covid-19 lockdown

Dr Muhammad Iqbal says home secretary refuses to relax lockdown restrictions in region

Shabbir Mir April 16, 2020
GILGIT: Gilgit-Baltistan (G-B) Minister for Works Dr Muhammad Iqbal announced to step down from his post following scuffle with a senior bureaucrat over the issue of relaxing coronavirus lockdown in the region.

“When a secretary defies the government’s decision, there is no point to cling to the ministry,” Dr Muhammad Iqbal said while addressing a press conference at central press club in Gilgit on Thursday.

“I’ll hand over my resignation to the chief minister after this conference,” he announced.

The presser of Dr Iqbal, a close aid of CM Hafeezur Rehman, came a day after a cabinet committee headed by him decided to relax the lockdown conditions in the region following a drop in the number of COVID-19 cases.

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Hours after the committee's decision on Wednesday, G-B Information Department had issued a statement saying lockdown in the region would continue and any decision in this regard would be made by the apex committee comprising of chief minister, force commander and chief secretary among others officials.

“I was chairman of the cabinet committee and we finalised everything with the consensus of secretaries and the ministers on Wednesday,” Dr Iqbal said describing the events that led to the row between him and the secretary home department.

“When everything got finalised, secretary home asked me not to make it public because it’s the apex committee to decide about it. This offended me as it had no point in doing the exercise by us if it were to decide by the apex committee.”

The exchange of heated argument led to the scuffle, Dr Iqbal said, adding that officials present on the occasion intervened and resolved the matter.

He further said that the decision was taken with the consent of CM Rehman but unfortunately it was reversed "because we don’t have proper representation in parliament".


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