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May 1, 2020

Supreme Court allows govt to hold elections in Gilgit-Baltistan

Top Story

May 1, 2020

ISLAMABAD: The Supreme Court on Thursday allowed the federal government to amend the Government of Gilgit-Baltistan Order 2018 to conduct the general elections as well as setting up a caretaker government during the interregnum period.

A seven-member larger bench of the apex court headed by Chief Justice Gulzar Ahmed accepted the plea of the federal government, seeking to amend the Government of Gilgit-Baltistan Order 2018 to conduct the upcoming general elections by adopting the Elections Act 2017 as well as setting up a caretaker government during the interregnum period.

The court in a short order allowed the government to hold general elections in September in Gilgit-Baltistan and setting up a caretaker government during the interim period. It is pertinent to mention here that the five-year term of the present GB government is due to expire in the last week of June this year and the next general elections will be held within 60 days.

During the hearing, Advocate General Gilgit-Baltistan appeared before the court on notice and supported the plea of the federal government seeking amendment to the said order and submitted that they have no objection to the plea of the federal government.

Chief Justice of Supreme Court Gulzar Ahmed asked about the Election Commission for holding fresh elections in Gilgit-Baltistan. Attorney General Khalid Javed informed the court that the Election Commission already exists there.

Justice Umar Ata Bandial observed that as per court order, the Gilgit-Baltistan Order 2018 is still implemented hence whatever suggestion is made in the detailed judgment, the president will issue Election Order.

The court after accepting the government plea observed that procedure for holding fresh elections will be mentioned in the detailed judgment.

The Supreme Court on Wednesday had issued notices to the government of Gilgit-Baltistan on the federal government’s plea wherein Attorney General Khalid Javed Khan had assured the court that in view of the changed scenario, the federal government’s intention was to ensure provision of all rights to the citizens of Gilgit-Baltistan who had always stood by Pakistan.

Last year in January, the Supreme Court in its judgment had directed the federal government to ratify the Gilgit-Baltistan Governance Reforms 2019 by tabling a bill in the Parliament for bringing necessary amendments.

The federal government had twice sought time for the implementation of the apex court verdict but in fresh plea it had requested the apex court that till the promulgation of the proposed reforms in GB, it might be allowed to make necessary amendments to the Government of Gilgit-Baltistan Order 2018 for setting up a caretaker government and conducting elections there.