Gilgit-Baltistan:Simultaneous Dissolution of GB Assembly along with NA/Provincial Assemblies Demanded

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ISLAMABAD (ET): A key leader of Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz (PML-N) in Gilgit-Baltistan (G-B) on Friday pushed for the simultaneous dissolution of G-B’s Legislative Assembly along with the National Assembly and provincial assemblies so that elections could be held in the region under a caretaker set-up.

The appeal — directed at the Pakistan Peoples Party (PPP)-led federal government — was made by chief organiser Hafiz Hafeezur Rehman at a news conference. Siddiqul Farooq, the party’s chief coordinator for G-B, Azad Jammu and Kashmir and Islamabad, was also present.

“The elections in G-B have always been manipulated by the ruling parties in the past. And it is key to hold the polls in G-B under a caretaker government so that transparency and fairness can be ensured,” Rehman said.

He claimed that in the past, every ruling party had rigged the elections in G-B by using official machinery and bureaucratic tactics and warned that it would continue in the future if they were not held under an impartial government. “We have not been given a level playing field for contesting elections in the past and every time the ruling party has interfered to manipulate them,” Rehman noted.

He also called for amending the Constitution to establish a circular office of the Supreme Court in G-B to ensure appointments in the superior judiciary are made under the Supreme Court rather than through the ministry of Kashmir Affairs and G-B.

Rehman alleged that the federal minister for Kashmir Affairs and G-B was demanding Rs20 million for appointing a judge in the Chief Court and Supreme Appellate Court of G-B. According to him, this is why there is only one chief judge of the Chief Court and the posts of four fellow judges have been lying vacant for many months as candidates could not arrange for the money.

Criticising the poor state of healthcare in G-B, he said the people were frustrated and disappointed as free treatment is provided in government hospitals all over the country, but the G-B government has introduced Rs250 in the name of doctor’s fee in every government hospital.

At the same time, Farooq pledged that PML-N had incorporated the recommendations received from the party’s G-B chapter in its manifesto and pledged to implement them if PML-N comes into power.

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