Raja Jalal Maqpoon sworn in as GB governor

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ISLAMABAD: Newly-appointed Gilgit-Baltistan (GB) Governor Raja Jalal Hussain Maqpoon took the oath of office in Gilgit on Sunday.

Gilgit Baltistan Supreme Appellate Court chief Justice Javed Iqbal administered the oath to the new governor.

GB Chief Minister Hafiz Hafeezur Rahman, cabinet ministers, and senior civil and military authorities attended the ceremony.

On September 25, the federal government appointed Raja Jalal Hussain Maqpoon as the new governor of GB.

Maqpoon is the president of the Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) in the region. He was defeated by Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz (PML-N) candidate Akbar Khan Taban in the GB Assembly election from Skardu constituency in 2015 by one vote.

According to a notification issued by Ministry of Kashmir Affairs and Gilgit-Baltistan, Maqpoon has been appointed as the GB governor under Article 33(1) of the Government of Gilgit-Baltistan Order 2018.

The post was vacated after Mir Ghazanfar Ali Khan resigned as GB governor earlier in September, following a controversy triggered by an alleged leaked video.

“He [Mir Ghazanfar] did not think it was appropriate for him to cling on to the post as PTI had formed a government at the centre and it was their prerogative to appoint a fresh governor in the state,” remarked a family member on his resignation.

However, sources claimed that Special Assistant to Prime Minister on Political Affairs Naeemul Haq had conveyed the message to the GB governor that the new federal government wanted to replace him.

According to the GB Order 2018, a person selected for the post of GB governor should be a local resident.

Earlier while talking to the media, Maqpoon had said that in a meeting held in Islamabad last week, he was asked to assume the GB governor’s office. However, he added, he had suggested that another person from the party should be considered for the post. According to him, PTI senior leader Jahangir Khan Tareen wanted him to be the GB governor.

Raja Jalal had also held a meeting with Jahangir Tareen in Islamabad a couple of days ago. Jahangir Tareen and Minister of Petroleum Ghulam Sarwar Khan have been active in the party’s affairs in GB. Ghulam Sarwar has been the focal person of GB affairs during the election in the area in 2015.

The party structure in GB after Jalal becomes governor was yet not clear as numbers of candidates are willing to become head of the party.

It is not yet clear who will head PTI’s GB chapter in wake of Jalal assuming the office of the governor.