–Premier holds meeting with lawmakers from GB to finalise draft ordinance
–Govt to withdraw review appeal in SC against GB Ordinance, 2019
ISLAMABAD: The Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) government is all set to introduce another presidential ordinance related to governance in Gilgit-Baltistan (GB).
Sources informed this scribe that Prime Minister Imran Khan held a meeting with GB governor, chief minister and other lawmakers on Wednesday to finalise the draft ordinance after months of consultations with stakeholders. The meeting was also attended by Minister for Kashmir Affairs and GB Ali Amin Gandapur, secretary Kashmir affairs, GB chief secretary and other officials from civilian and defence institutions.
According to sources, the meeting has given a go-ahead to the proposed GB Ordinance, 2020 and it is expected to be approved by the federal cabinet soon. The new ordinance is an amended version of the GB Ordinance, 2019, which was approved by the Supreme Court (SC) in January last year.
An official in the Ministry of Kashmir Affairs and GB informed this scribe that the new ordinance will give all administrative powers to the government of the GB without undermining the Kashmir cause. “This is a sensitive topic as the fate of GB is linked to the decision of the Kashmir dispute as per the resolutions of the United Nations (UN),” the official added.
The official also confided in this scribe that the government has amended some sections of the previous ordinance which had been criticised by relevant stakeholders and had prompted the government to file an appeal in the apex court against the ordinance. “Now that the government has amended those sections, it will withdraw its appeal and will ask the court to accept the amended ordinance instead,” the official added.
As the GB Ordinance 2019 was in limbo, the GB Governance Order, 2018, which was introduced by the previous Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz (PML-N) government, was being implemented in the region.
It is worth mentioning here that when the PML-N government introduced the GB Governance Order, 2018, it was widely opposed by the people of the region because, under the order, the prime minister enjoyed a central authority. Subsequently, the apex court started hearing the matter and after a number of hearings asked the government to implement GB Ordinance, 2019 within 15 days. However, the centre soon filed an appeal against the ordinance and continued the implementation of the GB Governance Order, 2018.