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Who calls the shots?: Non-implementation of CM Mehdi Shah’s orders challenged

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GILGIT: A petition was filed in the apex court of Gilgit-Baltistan (G-B), seeking implementation of the decision taken by the chief minister (CM) in 2013 to carve out two new districts in the region.

HunzaNews, June 13th, 2014.

CM Mehdi Shah announced to give the status of a district to Shigar and Kharmang valleys of Baltistan in March last year, raising the number of districts in the region from seven to nine.

The announcement, however, was not acted upon as the bureaucracy raised objections in relation to the powers of a CM to do so under the governance order of 2009.

The delay has now raised questions over who is the de facto head of the region – the CM or chief secretary – something also pointed out by the human rights commission of senators who visited G-B recently.

“This petition will clarify the position of CM – whether or not he is the chief executive of the region,” petitioner Imran Nadeem told The Express Tribune on Thursday.

“In my opinion, the CM has the power to create districts and that is why I have moved the petition,” said the resident of Shigar Valley, who has also served as an adviser on tourism for the previous government.

The then G-B chief secretary, in the wake of CM’s announcement, wrote a letter to the federal secretary of Kashmir Affairs and G-B, asking for guidance on the matter. The letter never solicited a reply, putting the issue on the backburner.

Just like the CM created divisions and tehsils in G-B, he is also empowered to carve out districts, Nadeem argued.

Arif Chaudhry, a reputable lawyer from Islamabad, is representing the petitioner, who is also an active leader of Pakistan Peoples Party in the region.

The Supreme Appellate Court, which is the apex court of G-B, has issued notices to the federal and regional governments to submit their replies in response to the petition.

Express Tribune

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