Gilgit-Baltistan:Islamabad-based GB Council Warned for encroaching upon the exclusive domain of the GB administration and GBLA

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ISLAMABAD (Dawn): The convener of a subcommittee of the Senate functional committee on human rights, Senator Raza Rabbani, on Monday said the Gilgit-Baltistan Empowerment and Governance Order 2009 needed to be revisited.

Chairing the meeting of the subcommittee, Mr Rabbani said steps should be taken to address the grievances of the people of Gilgit-Baltistan.

He asked the members of the committee and stakeholders to submit their recommendations in writing for improving the governance system in the region.

The meeting was held in-camera in which Senator Farhatullah Babar, Chief Minister GB Mehdi Shah, minister and secretaries of GB participated.

A week ago, Senator Babar opposed the proposed mining and mineral concession policy for Gilgit-Baltistan, terming it an “assault” on the fundamental rights of the people there.

Mr Babar said giving powers of issuing mining licences to the bureaucracy in Islamabad was a brazen attack on the local autonomy and assault on the fundamental rights of the people. He suggested improving human rights situation in the area.

In a statement, Mr Rabbani also warned the Islamabad-based GB Council against encroaching upon the exclusive domain of the GB administration and its legislative assembly.

He said he had come to know through the media that the Council was expected to formally adopt the new mining licensing policy.He explained that until now the GB chief secretary had been the appellate forum in mining concession matters. These powers, he said, were now being shifted to the federal secretary ministry of Kashmir affairs.

“The policy will not only deprive the local people of the scant self-rule they have under the constitution, it will further deepen the acute sense of deprivation and enhance feeling of alienation among the people of GB,” Mr Babar said.

The sub-committee will again meet on Tuesday in which the stakeholders will submit their suggestions in writing.

Mr Rabbani told the members another meeting of the subcommittee would be held after Eidul Fitr in which representatives of the ministry of defence, ministry of law and justice and ministry of foreign affairs will be invited.

It is pertinent to mention that members of the Sena

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