BY OUR CORRESPONDENT
GILGIT: The regional leaders of Pakistan Muslim League – Nawaz [PML-N] have criticised federal minister for commerce Khurram Dastagir for visiting Gilgit – Baltistan [G-B] on the invitation from G-B Chambers of commerce [COC], saying the ‘corrupt’ members of COC want to legalize their corruption by deceiving the minister.
“By accepting the invitation from a organization that is blacklisted, the minister has given protection to those who have defaulted on billions of rupee in loans from National Bank,” read a press release issued by PML-N leaders including Abid Baig and others, referring to COC president Javed Hussain on whose invitation Dastagir made a two day visit to G-B.
“The minister should have first collected information about the men who invited him. These people are now trying to legalize their corruption and black money by deceiving the minister,” said Baig, who earlier called a party meeting to discuss the visit of federal minister.
The PML-N, to which Dastagir also belongs, eventually ended up boycotting the visit and the regional leaders avoided meeting him during his visit. Dastagir returned to Islamabad on Wednesday.
When all this was happening, president of PML-N Gilgit – Baltistan Hafeez Ur Rahman was in Islamabad where he met prime minister Nawaz Sharif to discuss matters relating to upcoming elections due to be held next year in G-B.
The minister reached Gilgit early in the morning on a two-day official visit to meet local traders and explore avenues to boost trade with China. The minister made the invited on the invitation of officials of G-B COC.
While talking to the traders and members of COC, the minister promised he would discuss the issue of declaring Gilgit – Baltistan a tax free zone before start of new fiscal year, as suggested by the members of COC a day earlier.
“I promise to take up this issue with the government, and if possible will get the status of ‘tax free zone’ to G-B before the start of next fiscal year,” said the minister.