The change in schedule of former prime minister’s visit to Lahore has added sufferings of lawmakers and workers of Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz from Gilgit-Baltistan (GB) who gathered in Islamabad to show solidarity with their party leader Nawaz Sharif. The ousted leader wants to garner public support after court ruling in Panama case through public rallies.
Unprecedented and ugly scenes were witnessed at GB House Islamabad late on Saturday when a brawl broke out between a provincial minister and GB Council member over non-availability of room for the party workers invited to attend the Nawaz Sharif’s rally to Lahore. The incident, according to insiders, happened when Imran Wakeel, Forest Minister, reached the House located at F5/1 Islamabad with a group of party workers and demanded rooms from Ashraf Sada, GB Council Member, who was supervising the arrangement for those coming to attend the event on Wednesday.
Ashraf informed the minister that as the house was fully occupied by the workers arrived earlier; the new arrivals could be accommodated in hotels or private rest houses. However Imran Wakeel and his supporters kept demanding rooms at the house saying that they cannot afford private rest houses for many days.
The exchange of harsh words later resulted in fight between the minister and member council. According to sources, Ashraf Sada was badly beaten up by Imran Wakeel and his companions. However, GB Chief Minister Hafeezur Rehman and others mediated and cooled them down.
Talking to Pakistan Today, the insiders said, ‘The ruling party in GB had asked every minister and lawmaker to bring as many workers along as they can to show solidarity with party leader Nawaz Sharif. They were also asked to bear expenditure of the entire tour to Islamabad, but the change of schedule of the ex-prime minister’s visit to Lahore has heavily burdened their pockets as they needed to bear the expenditure for over a week. “To avoid more expenditure the lawmakers are trying to accommodate their supporters at GB House instead of rest houses and hotels,” they said adding that majority of the workers were unhappy over the attitude of their local leaders.
It may recall here that the ousted prime minister had decided to travel from Islamabad to Lahore on Wednesday (August 9) instead of Sunday (August 6). The decision regarding the change in schedule and route was taken after consultation with PML-N leadership.
On the other hand, people in Baltistan where recent flood has caused heavy losses in different areas were also enraged over absence of ministers and political representatives in their constituencies. The ministers and lawmakers were called in Islamabad by GB chief minister to attend the party’s mega event.
In Skardu, flash-flood killed five people besides damaging over 50 houses, rendering hundreds of people homeless and destroying standing crops and trees on August 3. The local administration has declared emergency in the affected areas.