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SOURCE: Hindustan Times

Cracks have emerged in Pakistan’s newly formed opposition alliance over Gilgit Baltistan, with PML-N leader Maryam Nawaz Sharif saying the issue of giving provincial status to the disputed region should have been discussed in parliament and not at the GHQ, the military headquarters.

“They (leaders of the Pakistan Democratic Movement) were called (to the GHQ) on the issue of Gilgit Baltistan. This is a political issue that should be settled by the people’s representatives…. These issues should be decided in the parliament, not in the GHQ,” she told media on Wednesday.

Her comments came a day after Army Chief Gen Qamar Javed Bajwa and Inter-Services Intelligence director general Lt Gen Faiz Hameed discussed the prospects of giving GB the status of a province in a meeting with the opposition alliance leaders.

Leader of the opposition in parliament Shehbaz Sharif, who is Maryam Nawaz’s uncle, along with his party colleagues Khawaja Asif and Ahsan Iqbal, attended the meeting on behalf of the PML-N while the PPP was represented by party chairperson Bilawal Bhutto Zardari and senator Sherry Rehman.

She also pointed out that no representative of her father, former prime minister Nawaz Sharif, met the army chief. This statement is seen as an attack on Shahbaz Sharif, who is also the president of the PML-N party.

Shehbaz Sharif confirmed the meeting with the military leadership ahead of the opposition parties’ all parties conference but made no further comments.

Reacting to Maryam Nawaz’s statement, railways minister Sheikh Rasheed said that the PML-N leadership held two, not one, meetings in the last two months with the military leadership, adding a rift had emerged between Maryam Nawaz and Shahbaz Sharif over the leadership of the PML-N party.