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After 5 years: Gilgit-Baltistan Council elections to be held on April 18

Published: March 31, 2016

GILGIT: The election commission of Gilgit-Baltistan has fixed April 18 as the date for the G-B Council polls.

This was stated in a notification issued on Wednesday from the election commissioner’s office.

“Nomination papers will be accepted between April 5 to April 8,” stated the document.

Earlier, the commission had announced the polls would be conducted on April 7. However, the date was changed and no reasons were cited for the decision.

As per the revised schedule, scrutiny of papers will begin on April 9 while appeals against the nomination papers can be filed on April 11.

The G-B Council, headed by Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif, enjoys a status of the upper house of the regional parliament. It has the power to legislate on over 50 matters, including minerals, tourism, forests and energy.

The council — established in May 2009 under Article 33 of G-B Empowerment and Self Governance Order, 2009 —is represented by six members each from the federal and G-B governments.

According to the website of G-B Council, the council is  currently represented by Captain (retired) Muhammad Safdar, Khalid Hussain Magsi, Dr Darshan, Syed Iftikharul Hassan, Isphanyar M Bhandara and Tariq Fazal Chudhary – all from the federal government. In addition to the 12 members, the governor of G-B is the vice chairman of the council while the federal minister for Kashmir affairs and G-B is also a  member.

The council members are elected by members of the G-B Assembly. Since the ruling party, Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz, has 22 members in the 33-member G-B Assembly, it will elect four members for the council, the elections for which take place after every five years.

Published in The Express Tribune, March 31st,  2016.

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