ISLAMABAD, Dec 30: The newly-elected chief minister of Gilgit-Baltistan (GB) has a unique privilege to have a house without an opposition leader.
To the dismay of the National Assembly Standing Committee on Kashmir Affairs and Northern Areas, it was informed on Wednesday that under the current rules, there was no provision of opposition leader in the house.
When inquired, Gilgit-Baltistan Chief Secretary Babar Yaqoob Fateh Mohammad informed the committee, though the region would have its own governor, auditor general, chairman public service commission; seat of the opposition leader had not yet been mentioned in the Gilgit-Baltistan Empowerment and Self-Governance Order.
In a unanimous resolution, the committee asked the chief secretary to initiate necessary legislation for the provision of opposition leader in the Gilgit-Baltistan Legislative Assembly.
The PPP has an overwhelming majority with 23 members in the 33-seat house.
“It is negation of basic principles of democracy, hence, needed immediate action on the part of ruling PPP,” MNA Marvi Memon of the Pakistan Muslim League remarked. “Who would hold ruling party accountable when there is no opposition in the house,” she observed.
There was also consensus among the members of the committee over zero-involvement of the federal government since Gilgit-Baltistan has its own full-fledged administrative setup.
The committee was also of the view that the yet-to-be-appointed governor of Gilgit-Baltistan should be native of the area. There are speculations that President Asif Zardari is going to appoint a non-local woman governor of Gilgit-Baltistan.
President Zardari during his speech on the second death anniversary of late Benazir Bhutto on December 27 had said Gilgit-Baltistan’s new governor would be a woman.
When contacted, Gilgit-Baltistan Legislative Assembly (GBLA) Speaker Wazir Baig told Dawn by telephone that strong opposition was a must for strengthening of democratic institutions and promoting democratic culture. He supported provision of opposition leader in the legislative assembly. He hoped that opposition would play its due role in the house.
Regarding the appointment of a woman as governor of the GB, Mr Baig quoted Chief Minister Syed Mehdi Shah as saying that names of five women candidates from the region had been forwarded to the party high command.
MNA Faryal Talpur will interview them and select one of them as governor, he said. [DAWN]