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Sharif’s exit leads PoK Gilgit-Baltistan leaders to say Kashmiris may rethink on alignment with Pakistan

Islamabad [Pakistan]: The Supreme Court of Pakistan’s landmark verdict to disqualify Nawaz Sharif from holding the office of Prime Minister on alleged charges of corruption, has led concerned heads of government in Pakistan-occupied Kashmir and Gilgit-Baltistan to warn that Kashmiris may have to rethink on whether or not to align with Pakistan in the future.

In the week gone by, Pakistan-occupied Kashmir Prime Minister Raja Farooq Haider and Gilgit-Baltistan Chief Minister Hafiz Hafeez-ur-Rehman both blamed the Supreme Court as well as Pakistan’s armed forces for the dismissal of Nawaz Sharif.

Prime Minister Farooq Haidar Khan said that after Nawaz Sharif’s disqualification, “We will have to rethink if we want to be with Pakistan or which country we want to be a part of”.

Local media reported that both seemed to have “lost their senses” in their eagerness to prove their loyalty to the Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz (PML-N) leadership.

Prime Minister Raja Farooq said Kashmiris were uncertain about siding with Pakistan after Sharif’s disqualification and did not hesitate to malign both the judiciary and military.

He termed the Supreme Court verdict against Sharif as ‘fixed’ and a ‘rebellion’.

The criticism of the judiciary and the military by both of these leaders led leaders of the opposition Pakistan People’s Party (PPP) and the Pakistan Tehreek-i-Insaaf (PTI) to demand registration of cases against Raja and Rehman for making ‘derogatory’ comments’.

Former Pakistan President and PPP co-chairman Asif Ali Zardari asked, “How can the UN resolutions and the inalienable right of Kashmiris to self-determination be bartered away with the disqualification of Nawaz Sharif by a judicial process?”

A recent editorial appearing in the Business Recorder was critical of the PoK Prime Minister and Gilgit-Baltistan Chief Minister, saying that when political parties such as the PML-N have never pursued a proactive policy on Kashmir, making “gratuitous utterances” about the Kashmir question and against Pakistan’s judiciary seemed completely out of place.

The editorial went on to say that both Prime Minister Raja Farooq Haider and Gilgit-Baltistan Chief Minister Hafiz Hafeez-ur-Rehman have hurt the sentiments of Kashmiris as well as a vast majority of Pakistanis, and unwittingly embarrassed their own PML-N.

It said they needed to apologize for their “utterly unacceptable remarks.”

For the record, both Raja and Rehman maintained that Shairif’s dismissal has once again created “doctrine of necessity” and that the PML-N would not allow the democratic process in Pakistan to be derailed.

They maintained that Sharif had taken initiatives to bring Pakistan-administered Kashmir and Gilgit-Baltistan into the national mainstream and ensured substantial increases in their respective development budget.

They regretted that Sharif had been deprived of his right to clarification under Article 10A of the Constitution, adding that reservations of Sharif family about the Joint Investigation Team (JIT), which probed the Panama papers case, were proved correct.

They described the former prime minister as a popular leader of the country who had the ability and vision to keep the nation united and ensure make Pakistan a developed country among the comity of nations, and his disqualification as an insult to the office of the prime minister. (ANI)