GILGIT: The Gilgit-Baltistan Assembly on Monday elected Khalid Khurshid Khan of the Pakistan Tehreek-i-Insaf(PTI) as chief minister and Pakistan Peoples Party’s Amjad Hussain as leader of the opposition. Speaker Amjad Hussain Zaidi chaired the assembly session held to elect the chief minister of Gilgit-Baltistan.

Mr. Khan, who was fielded by the PTI-Majlis Wahdat-i-Muslimeen alliance, and Mr. Hussain who was a candidate of the opposition parties JUI-F, PPP and PML-N, secured 22 and nine votes, respectively. After the CM election, Speaker Zaidi announced that the opposition parties submitted requisition and said Mr Hussain was elected opposition leader in the GB Assembly.

Speaking on the occasion, Jamiat Ulema-i-Islam-Fazl lawmaker Rehmat Khaliq said his party would support every “legal and constitutional” step of the newly elected government. Legislator belonging to the BNF-Naji congratulated the chief minister and the opposition leader said that constructive criticism against government would continue.

He said the people of the region believed that the government should not show any negligence in GB’s development for which his party was ready to appreciate all good steps. Speaker Zaidi announced that appropriate time would be given to members of the ruling and opposition parties in the assembly.

PML-N lawmaker Ghulam Mohammad said his party would continue its efforts to identify public issues while expressing the hope that the government would ensure the provision of rights to GB people. Claiming that the PML-N laid the foundation of fast-paced development in the region, he said the PTI government should continue to work at the same pace.

PPP’s Amjad Hussain, who was elected opposition leader, congratulated all members of the GB Assembly. He said the ruling PTI and opposition PPP got equal votes yet the PTI was allowed to form the government under a plan.

He said there was a question mark on the system how with equal votes, the PTI got nine seats and PPP got four seats. He said religious parties helped the PTI get nine seats. It was political engineering through which the PTI formed the government in GB, he said.

The opposition leader said he would continue to resist against every anti-people move of the government. He reiterated that the GB elections were rigged as the Centre committed every possible rigging to defeat the PPP in the region. Chief Minister Khan promised that every step would be taken to solve the issues being faced by GB people. He said health, education and other sectors would be solved on a priority basis.

The GB’s merger with the rest of Pakistan would be a historic move, he said, adding that the PTI was taking this step. He said Prime Minister Imran Khan wanted to ensure the promotion of tourism. He vowed that all resources would be utilized to boost tourism around the year instead of a few months.

On the floor of the House, he promised judicial and agriculture reforms. Fruit processing units would be established in the region so that they could be exported. He said: “I am sure we will be able to make our own budget through revenue.”

He said technology would be used to explore minerals. Electricity would be provided to all areas, he said, adding that new projects for hydro power would be taken. “Environmental policy will be made to reduce impact of climate change on GB,” he said.

Besides, unemployment would be controlled, he said. Women empowerment was among the PTI government’s priorities, he said while asking the Gilgit-Baltistan opposition to support the government for development of the region. Later, the assembly session was adjourned for an unspecified period.