The young members of Pakistan Peoples Party are not happy with their party leadership in Gilgit – Baltistan. Two senior members, Manzoor Bagoro and Babu Astori, have openly led protests against the Chief Minister, who is also the party’s president in GB. The dissatisfied group, with the help of some nationalists, like Kashif Bonjvi and Dr. Ghulam Abbas, tried to sabotage the oath-taking ceremony of the Chief Judge of Supreme Appellate Court, by protesting inside the GB House.
It appears that the government has ordered registration of cases against five of the leading protesters, including Advisor to Chief Minister Manzoor Bagoro, Babu Astori, Kashif Bonjvi, Dr. Abbas and Nadeem Malik, who has also been arrested. The police is, reportedly, conducting raids to arrest the other leaders.
The defiant youth leaders have said that they are not afraid of arrests and jail. “Hum kal bhi Bhutto Walay thay, hum aaj bhi Bhutto walay hay”, wrote Babu Astori on his facebook profile. He has also asked the youth of Gilgit – Baltistan to gather in front of the parliament house on November 13, to protest against the “unjust” appointment of SAC Chief Judge.
He has also written that the protest will be focused on demands for removal of GB Chief Minister.
Whether Babu and his comrades, under the leadership of Manzoor Bagoro, are able to attract masses is yet to be seen.
In the meanwhile, PPP workers in Gilgit and almost all other districts of GB are protesting against their party leaders for failing to appoint Justice Jafar Shah, himself a Jiyala in the past, as Chief Judge of the GB Supreme Appellate Court. According to some reports dozens of regional party leaders have faxed their resignations to President Zardari, who is also the co-chairperson of PPP.
Some people believe that these vocal youth are being backed by some ministers and senior party leaders who are not happy with the way Mehdi Shah is running the government in GB. The CM, himself, also hinted towards such a “conspiracy”, saying that the perpetrators will not be spared.
Whether the party is able to control the dissent or not, only will time will tell. However, the current revolt is a sign that the workers are not happy with policies of their leaders. Marred by tales of corruption, the Mehdi Shah government is already becoming unpopular. In Hunza Valley the party has lost almost all legitimacy after the murder of two IDPs. Similar incidents of failure and brutality have triggered negative emotions about the party’s government in District Diamer. People of Gilgit city have been expressing their anger and frustration over the PPP government’s inability to ensure peace.
Backed by the lawyers of GB, who have threatened to start a movement, the recent and the already piled mass dissent can turn into a political force and might create a lot of trouble for the administration and government.