Kicking off her one-week-long political campaign ahead of the November 15 election in the semi-autonomous Gilgit-Baltistan region, Maryam Nawaz on Thursday told party workers to confront those Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz (PML-N) leaders who were switching loyalties “under pressure”.

“Promise me you will not vote for those who change their loyalties. Those who backstab their party do not deserve your votes,” the PML-N leader said while addressing a public gathering in Skardu.

She went on to say that those who succumbed under pressure could never stand for the rights of the people. “They need to be taught a lesson,” Maryam added.


Earlier during an informal discussion upon her arrival at the airport, the PML-N suggested that workers should gherao all such turncoats.

Gherao or encirclement is a tactic similar to picketing. It is mostly used by labour activists and union leaders in South Asian countries where a group of people would surround a politician or a government building until their demands are met, or answers given.

Later at the public gathering, Maryam began her speech by thanking former premier Shahid Khaqan Abbasi, Pervez Rasheed and former Gilgit-Baltistan chief minister (CM) Hafiz Hafeezur Rehman for staying by Nawaz Sharif’s side through thick and thin.

“Today, politicking has changed. And it should change,” she told the crowd. “Those who remain loyal to their party and aren’t sell-outs, deserve votes.”

“I have heard that out of our 16 candidates, eight or nine have changed loyalties. Remember this when you go out to vote that those who cannot endure pressure, will never stand for the public’s rights,” she reiterated.

“The fake prime minister (PM) announced to make Gilgit-Baltistan a province. You may be a fake premier but you are still a premier. You don’t realise how people are struggling due to inflation,” Maryam said while taking a dig at PM Imran Khan.

Blaming the incumbent government for the sugar and wheat crisis, she recalled the premier’s promise of 10 million jobs. “Has any youth in Skardu found employment? Did he fulfill his promise to provide housing?”

The PML-N leader also urged the people of Skardu to send the “lying premier” home. “He is about to go. The last push will be given by the people of Gilgit-Baltistan.”