Gilgit - Baltistan

Fresh election of N.As assembly Court seeks reply from ministry

Rawalpindi, Oct 30: The Islamabad High Court (IHC) here on Thursday directed the Ministry of Kashmir Affairs and Northern Areas (Kana) to submit within two weeks its comments in a petition seeking fresh election of the Northern Areas Legislative Assembly and that of the region’s chief executive.

IHC Chief Justice Sardar Mohammad Aslam directed the Kana ministry to furnish its comments about the nomination of the new chief executive instead of his fresh election in two weeks after an official of the ministry told the court that they had been working on the case and should be given four weeks to reply.

Mohammad Ibrahim advocate representing the petitioner, Saeed Mohammad Ali Shah, a resident of Skardu, told Dawn that the ministry had earlier maintained that the federal government in the amended Governance Order 2007 had only changed the name of the Northern Areas Legislative Council as a legislative assembly and no changing had been made about the process of appointment of the chief executive.

Making Kana federal minister and federal secretary and Northern Areas (N.As) chief executive respondents, the petitioner had prayed to the court that the nomination of the new chief executive should be declared unconstitutional and fresh elections of the legislative assembly should be ordered after the change of name.

The petitioner contended that the sitting members were elected in 2004 but after the promulgation of N.As Governance Order 2007 the status of the council was upgraded to that of an assembly. There should have been new elections for the 36 assembly members, including six women and six special seats for technocrats.

He further contended that according to Article 4 of the N.As Governance Order 1994, the deputy chief executive was to be nominated by the Kana federal minister acting as chairman of the N.As, but under the amended order 2007 the seat of deputy chief executive had been changed as chief executive and he would be elected by members of the new assembly.

Instead of new election, the sitting deputy executive has been made chief executive and the sitting members only took a fresh oath in sheer violation of the amended order.  Courtesy: Dawn

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