BY OUR CORRESPONDENT
GILGIT: Zafar Iqbal, a renowned bureaucrat and former managing director of government sponsored Northern Areas Transport Corporation [NATCO] - on Monday announced his ambitions to join politics but withheld the name of the 'expected party'.
“I announce that I have decided to step into active politics,” Iqbal told a selected gathering that included politicians from various parties.
Those attended the ceremony included Pakistan Muslim League – Nawaz [PML-N] regional chief Hafiz-ur-Rahman, speaker Gilgit – Baltistan legislative assembly Wazir Baig, former senior minister Muhammad Jafar, former judge Justice Jaffar Shah, former minister water and power Didar Ali besides other key politicians from G-B.
“Today everything has become a business including the politics. But I will try to make a difference,” said Iqbal who previously served as managing director in the Northern Areas Transport Corporation [NATCO] for nearly two decades, transforming it into a profitable company. His prolonged stay as MD and the success of the NATCO added to his credibility.
Zafar Iqbal was one of the close contestants in the race for interim chief minister. He was reportedly one of the three candidates recommended by the regional government for the slot that was finally won by Sher Jehan Mir, a famous banker in G-B. Mir will be chief minister till elections which are likely to take place in April next year.
Hailing from Gojal, Iqbal also featured this year in a controversy over management of Sost Dry Port, where he had been elected as chairman. Iqbal reportedly slapped a Chinese staffer after the staffer denied Iqbal’s access to his office.
When asked which party he was going to join, Iqbal said it would be decided in due course of time.
The regional chief of PML-N, Hafiz-ur-Rahman, who also attended the ceremony, said PML-N would welcome Iqbal if he wants to join his party. “We will be please to have people like Iqbal in the party,” said Rahman.
Iqbal’s decision to join the politics came days after G-B government ended its five-year term successfully, paving way for an interim setup which became possible after amendments in the G-B governance order 2009.