Pakistan Peoples’ Party in Gilgit – Baltistan is passing through the worst phase of its history. After the announcement of regional party leadership portfolios, Mehdi Shah – Skardu and Ghulam Muhammad – Ghizar getting the top slots, the workers of Gilgit city and the surrounding localities seem to have united into an opposition bloc against their own party leaders.
The rift has widened to such an extent that the opposition bloc has announced a parallel setup, declaring Muhammad Ibrahim as President of their bloc.
Traditionally, Presidents of the party’s regional setup used to be residents of Gilgit city and it is for the first time that a man from Skardu has got the top slot, while one from Ghizar has got the second top slot. The feud, on surface at least, seems to be caused by regional likes and dislikes, or interests.
There are circles claiming that since the secretariat is based in Gilgit city, so the President or, at least, the General Secretary should also be a resident of Gilgit city. However, some leaders opposing the setup accuse Ghulam Muhammad of being “an anti-state nationalist guised as a Jiyala”. To “support their claim” they quote his allegedly close links with BNF, which Ghulam Muhammad rejects as “baseless and ill intentioned allegations”.
Whatever the reason or justification for the brewing, spilling, feud, this situation offers ample expansion opportunities for parties claiming inspiration from nationalistic agendas, besides other federalist parties.
If the party’s top leadership doesn’t intervene to resolve the issue, this may prove to be the beginning of a decay process, especially while the November elections are looming large on the horizon.