GILGIT: A senior lawmaker from Pakistan Muslim League-Quaid, Mirza Hussain, on Monday levelled harsh accusations against Gilgit-Baltistan Chief Minister Mehdi Shah.
Speaking on the floor of the G-B legislative assembly, Hussain termed Shah a corrupt man “who keeps his personal interest above the [wellbeing of the] masses”.
“Shah has been involved in so many corrupt practices over the years. That is why he is unable to speak against bureaucracy,” claimed Hussain during the first day of the current session chaired by Speaker Wazir Baig. He, however, failed to touch upon why, despite the alleged corruption, his party, the PML-Q, chose to enter the government as a coalition partner four years ago.
Hussain also criticised the attitude of bureaucrats towards the assembly and elected representatives.
The criticism was triggered by PML-Nawaz’s Fida Nashad after he drew the speaker’s attention towards the shortage of “seasonal labour” in the remote hilly areas of the region. “The issue is serious, but unfortunately the government is taking it lightly,” said Nashad, alluding to the labour needed to keep the roads clear.
A shortage of labourers in remote parts of the valley in Skardu and Astore over the past several months has forced residents of the areas to remove snow and boulders from roads themselves.
Upon this, Minister for Works Bashir Ahmed said the labourers could not be paid for the last six months due to a shortage of funds. “We are trying to settle this issue very soon.”
The speaker, however, reminded Ahmed of his previous statement made on the floor of the house over the issue. “You had made this statement during the previous sessions as well. You seem to lack planning, which resulted in lapse of Rs5 or Rs6 billion funds as pointed out by secretary Kashmir affairs recently.”
The speaker also lashed out at the chief minister for not taking action against “inefficient” secretaries despite demands by lawmakers in the house. “When we ask the chief minister to change a secretary, he doesn’t do so,” said Speaker Baig, referring to a recent resolution passed by the house demanding the transfer of secretary services. Despite promises, the chief minister did not transfer the said secretary.
Earlier, the speaker had adjourned the session for 10 minutes after a lack of quorum was pointed out by one of the legislators. However, proceedings soon resumed as more lawmakers arrived at the assembly.
The session was later adjourned till Monday.
Published in The Express Tribune, August 12th,2014.