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Committee report: ‘The power lies in Islamabad’

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GILGIT:The power lies in Islamabad, rendering the Gilgit-Baltistan (G-B) Legislative Assembly toothless. This was one of the findings of the nine-member senate committee investigating human rights issues in the region.

HunzaNews April 30th, 2014.

“What we have found out is that the powers lie in Islamabad through the G-B Council, which is headed by the prime minister, and not with the G-B Assembly,” shared Senator Afrasiab Khattak on Tuesday at a news conference at the Gilgit Press Club where the other senators were also present.

“Even a peon cannot be appointed here without prior permission from Islamabad,” said Khattak, who is heading a nine-member Senate Functional Committee investigating human rights violations in G-B.

The finding is in stark contrast to earlier statements made by G-B Chief Minister Mehdi Shah who often boasted about the devolution of power, giving credit to former president Asif Zardari.

Unlike the “empowerment order of 2009, the next order will have more powers for the region,” shared Khattak.

The powers enjoyed by the G-B Council must be delegated to the local assembly to make elected representatives more powerful, enabling them to legislate on issues like forests and water, he added.

“The judiciary requires an overhaul. Judges need to be hired on a permanent basis unlike the current arrangement which allows hiring them to the regional apex court on contract.”

Explaining the committee had first hand information after meeting various sectors of society, Khattak maintained a committee headed by Farhatullah Babar will permanently oversee issues concerning the people of G-B. Under Article 1 of Pakistan’s Constitution, G-B is a part of Pakistan, added Babar, who was also at the press club. 

Express Tribune

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