Saturday, August 29, 2009

New reforms package for Gilgit Balistan

ISLAMABAD: The Northern areas will be renamed to 'Gilgit Baltistan' and will have a province like status, the Prime Minister announced on Saturday.

In a special cabinet meeting, the government approved a a self-government reforms package replacing the 'Legal Framework Order 0994' with 'Gilgit Baltistan Empowerment and Self Governance Order 2009'. Addressing a press conference here Prime Minister Yusuf Raza Gilani said the Chief Minister will be elected by the Gilgit‑Baltistan Legislative Assembly, who will be assisted by six ministers. There shall be a provision of two advisors to the Chief Minister. He said there shall be a Governor of Gilgit‑Baltistan as proposed under Article‑20 and shall be appointed by the President of Pakistan. Till the election of the new legislative Assembly, Federal Minister for KANA will act as Governor.

Prime Minister said the area would be given full rights as Azad Jammu and Kashmir, however it could not be given provincial status as per the Constitution. Gilgit‑Baltistan Assembly will formulate its own Rules of Procedures, while legislation on various subjects pertinent to governance will be done by the Council and Assembly in their respective jurisdiction.

Regarding any impact on the UN document about on Northern Areas, Gilani said both Foreign Office and the AJK President had been taken onboard before the decision.

Qamar Zaman Kaira, Minister for KANA said the approved Order will be sent to President Asif Ali Zardari for final consent.

Prime Minister said a detailed item‑wise budget shall be presented before the Gilgit‑Baltistan Assembly as being practiced in Pakistan and shall be accordingly voted upon as suggested in article 56.

He said the Chief Judge, Judges of the Chief Court and Supreme Apeallate court shall be appointed by the Chairman of the Council on the advice of the Governor on the same pattern as it is being practiced in AJK. Number of judges had been increased from three to five. The tenure of the present judges of the Supreme Judiciary has been protected in the draft.

The Prime Minister also anounced the establishment of Gilgit‑Baltistan Public Service Commission and Gilgit‑Baltistan Services under Article‑80 and 81.

He said Auditor General Gilgit‑Baltistan will be appointed by the Governor on the advice of Council as the case in AJK.

He said there shall be a Chief Election Commissioner under Article‑82 as well as Auditor General besides emergency provisions under article‑83 and 87 respectively.

Pakistan Muslim League - N (PML-N) has welcomed the approval of self-governance for the Northern Areas, saying PML-N would support every step which aimed to bring people of these areas into the mainstream.

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