After 18 years, the Election Commission of local body elections Gilgit-Baltistan has announced to hold in all 10 districts on party basis in the first week of November.
Chief Election Commissioner Raja Shehbaz Khan said in a press conference along with Election Commissioner Abid Raza that the delay in local government elections was due to the opposition of former Chief Minister Khalid Khurshid and going to court against the election. Preparations have been started.
He said that the elections will be held under the local body elections Gilgit-Baltistan Act 2014, under which quota has been fixed for the minorities for the first time.
Raja Shehbaz Khan said that in Gilgit and Baltistan, where the urban population is more than one lakh, there will be elections for the Metropolitan Corporation, while the municipal corporation for the urban population of one lakh and the municipal for the population up to 50,000. There will be committees.
In response to a question, Chief Election Commissioner Gilgit-Baltistan said that earlier elections in Gilgit-Baltistan were held under the Act of 1979. There will be a choice.
When asked about the institutions responsible for the 18-year delay in the elections, the Chief Election Commissioner said that if the governments did not approve the law, then how would we have conducted the elections?
The Election Commission contacted several times for the election, but they spent crores to create the Local Bodies Act and spent crores by creating an institution in the name of Soni Jwari, but till date this institution has not done any work for the Local Bodies Act. Thus, a huge amount of money from the treasury was spent for no purpose and the valuable three years of the people were wasted in waiting.
It may be noted that on July 19, the Gilgit-Baltistan cabinet in its first meeting decided to hold local body elections Gilgit-Baltistan, ending the long-standing legal tension over the issue.
The report of Dawn newspaper, in the meeting, Chief Minister Haji Gulbar Khan had issued instructions to Chief Election Commissioner of Gilgit-Baltistan Raja Shehbaz Khan to make arrangements for the long-delayed local body elections.
It should be remembered that in April 2021, the Chief Court of Gilgit-Baltistan directed the government and the Election Commission to hold local elections in the region immediately.
In its summary judgment, the Chief Court said that the Gilgit-Baltistan government is illegally running local bodies through unelected administrative officials who are allocating funds in the name of local body elections Gilgit-Baltistan, which is in violation of fair distribution, transparency and good governance. It is against the rules.
Due to the non-implementation of the decision, the Chief Court on June 12, 2022 ordered the government of Gilgit-Baltistan to release the schedule of local body elections within a month.
However, the then Chief Minister Khalid Khurshid Khan challenged this decision in the Supreme Appellate Court of Gilgit-Baltistan which suspended the order of the Chief Court, since then the case is pending in the Appellate Court.
It should be remembered that Haji Gulbar Khan, the candidate of Farood Block, was elected as the Chief Minister in the election for the Leader of the House of Gilgit-Baltistan on July 13.
It should be noted that on July 4, the Chief Court of Gilgit-Baltistan disqualified Chief Minister Khalid Khurshid Khan in the fake degree case, after which the election of the new Chief Minister was to be held the next day. After entering the assembly, the assembly hall was sealed and the employees and journalists were expelled from the assembly building, due to which the election process became uncertain.
Elections were later held on 13 July, in which Haji Gulbar Khan was elected as the Chief Minister.