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Democratic transition: Constitutional crisis looms over G-B

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GILGIT:  A constitutional crisis looms over Gilgit-Baltistan (G-B) with no provision for an interim government to supervise elections in the G-B Empowerment and Self-Governance Order 2009.

HunzaNews, June 19th, 2014.

This was pointed out by the regional chief of Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz (PML-N) Hafeezur Rahman during a news conference on Wednesday.

Under the self-governance order of 2009, G-B’s government will complete its tenure on December 10 while the chief minister’s reign will end on December 12.

“A constitutional crisis is looming large but the rulers haven’t realized this,” said the PML-N leader.

“The order is silent about the caretaker set-up. So if a new government does not take over by then, there will be no one to govern the region after that.”

Rahman urged the chief minister to make amendments if he wanted to hold elections next year or a neutral set-up to supervise the polls.

Climatic considerations will also play a part in determining the election schedule. The regional leadership of PML-N has turned on the pressure to hold the polls by October, ahead of the harsh winters.

This has evoked a strong reaction from the ruling party and its allies.

Chief Minister Mehdi Shah recently termed the demand illegal and undemocratic, saying elections would only be held under a caretaker setup.

“If anything is forced upon us, it would amount to weakening the system and democracy,” Shah said a day after Rahman held a meeting with the prime minister in Islamabad to discuss matters pertaining to G-B.

Appointing a chief election commissioner and preparation of computerised electoral lists are other matters requiring urgent attention of the government.

Express Tribune

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