Alliance with PPP: PML-Q’s fate in G-B hangs in the balance

Party’s demands for ministries not met due to PPP ‘pressure’.

Shabbir Mir August 10, 2011

GILGIT: The opposition leader in the Gilgit-Baltistan Legislative Assembly Bashir Ahmed, who belongs to PML-Q, is regretting his choice to join the cabinet of Gilgit-Baltistan (GB) Chief Minister Syed Mehdi Shah, saying that he had made the choice for the sake of party discipline, The Express Tribune learnt.

As negotiations between PPP-PML-Q progressed, PML-Q leadership demanded the inclusion of two ministers and one adviser in the G-B government. However, PPP pressure prevented Mehdi Shah from accepting the demand, leaving PML-Q ‘hanging in the balance’. “Mehdi Shah used delaying tactics to keep Q at bay … feeling the heat from PPP insiders,” said a  PPP source.

PML-Q’s lawmakers Bashir Ahmed and Amina Ansari have been fierce opponents of Mehdi Shah’s government and have termed it an inept administration.

“If we joined the government, we would be doing it on our terms only,” Bashir said, adding that his party will not be part of the government unless all the three members Amina Ansai, Mirza Hussain and Bashir Ahmed are awarded ministries.

MNA Rukhsana Bangash, who is also the president’s political secretary, contacted Ahmed and offered him the ministry. However, it is believed that Ahmed, in the interest of the party, refused to accept the offer. The provincial secretary information G-B Rana Nazeem claimed that PPP did not need PML-Q in G-B, adding that they were taking them on board, nevertheless, in the larger interest of the party’s ‘reconciliation’ policy.

Published in The Express Tribune, August 10th, 2011.