Home > Uncategorized > [Press Review] President signs Gilgit-Baltistan Order

[Press Review] President signs Gilgit-Baltistan Order

By Asim Yasin

ISLAMABAD: President Asif Ali Zardari on Monday signed the Gilgit-Baltistan (Empowerment and Self-Governance) Order 2009 aimed at introducing far-reaching administrative, political, financial and judicial reforms in the Northern Areas.


Map of Gilgit-Baltistan

The president congratulated the people of Gilgit and Baltistan on the realisation of yet another dream of emancipation. He said he was happy that the PPP government and reforms in the Northern Areas were interlinked, recalling the previous reforms in 1975 and again in 1994.

Explaining the salient features of the Order signed on Monday to media persons, Spokesperson for the President Farhatullah Babar said Gilgit-Baltistan will now have an elected legislative assembly, which would elect the chief minister and a governor to be appointed by the president on the advice of the prime minister.

It will also now have its own Public Service Commission, the chief election commissioner and the auditor general, he said. The chief minister elected by the legislative assembly would be assisted by six ministers and two advisers.

The legislative assembly would have 24 members, who would be elected directly besides six women and three technocrats’ seats. It would have powers to make laws on 61 subjects, he said.

Babar said there would be Gilgit-Baltistan Consolidated Fund and the annual budget would be presented to the assembly and voted upon as per practice in vogue in other provinces in the country.

The name of the Northern Areas of Pakistan would be Gilgit-Baltistan. Till the election of the Legislative Assembly, the minister for Kashmir Affairs and Northern Areas would be the acting governor, he said.

About the judicial reforms contained in the Order, he said the chief judge of the Supreme Appellate Court would be appointed by the chairman of the Council on the advice of the governor.

Other judges shall be appointed by the chairman on the advice of the governor after seeking views of the chief judge. The number of judges would be increased from three to five. It may be mentioned that the first major administrative, judicial and political reforms were introduced and Jagirdari Nizam abolished in 1975 during the government of Shaheed Zulfikar Ali Bhutto.

Further democratisation of the area was effected during the government of Shaheed Mohtarma Benazir Bhutto through the Northern Areas Legal Framework Order 1994. The third instalment of major reforms order was signed on Monday by President Asif Ali Zardari, he said. source

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