N. Areas dy chief executive sworn in
23 November 2004
Gilgit: Mir Ghazanfar Ali Khan of Hunza, of the Pakistan Muslim League, took oath as the Northern Areas deputy chief executive on Tuesday after being elected unopposed. Candidates of the PML, which enjoys the support of 16 legislators in the 24-member Northern Areas Legislative Council, were also elected speaker and deputy speaker, unopposed, after their rivals withdrew their candidature. Haji Malik Miskeen from Diamer was elected NALC speaker and Syed Asad Zaidi from Skardu deputy speaker. Northern Areas Chief Executive Syed Faisal Saleh Hayat took oath from Ghanzanfar Ali and the speaker. The speaker administered oath to the deputy speaker. The candidates of the PML (Nawaz) and the People's Party Parliamentarians withdrew from the contest. The deputy chief executive said after taking oath that the region was beset with numerous problems, particularly those of joblessness, decline in tourism, energy crisis and lack of rights, the solution of which needed cooperation from all the legislators. Northern Areas PML-N Secretary Hafiz Hafizur Rahman, who had been fielded jointly by his party and the PPP for the post of deputy chief executive, said that the region had undergone long spells of de-politicization and the political process there was nascent. He said the region produced bureaucrats and professionals but the society divided on sectarian lines due to lack of political process, which had claimed at least 233 lives over the last decade. He expressed the hope that the government would pay heed to the demands for constitutional rights of people of the region. Ghulam Mohammad of the PPP said the NALC members were allotted different portfolios and the number of seats in the council had been increased but they had never been empowered to speak for the rights of the people. He demanded demarcation of opposition benches in the house.