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G-B Council elections declared illegal

GILGIT: An election tribunal declared the Gilgit-Baltistan Council elections as illegal. It has asked the G-B election commission to hold the polling process afresh.

The G-B Council elections were held in April through a show of hands. This was challenged by a candidate Ali Haider through his lawyer Advocate Amjad Hussain, who is also president of Pakistan Peoples Party in G-B.

On Thursday, Justice Muhammad Alam announced the decision and termed the elections illegal.

In his petition, Advocate Amjad Hussain had contended that the decision to hold the polls through a show of hands was taken by the government after the election commission had issued the election schedule which they said was illegal.

However, they can approach the higher court against the single-judge tribunal’s decision.

The tribunal’s decision affected PML-N councillors, including Ashraf Sada, Wazir Ikhlaq, Sultan Ali Khan, Arman Shah and Syed Afzal.

The council elections took place after five years in April 2016. The ‘show of hands’ amendment was included in the G-B Empowerment and Self-Governance Order 2009 shortly before the election.

The council, established in May 2009 under Article 33 of the 2009 order, was represented by six members each from the federal and G-B governments.

The G-B Council, headed by Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif, enjoyed the status of the upper house of the regional parliament. The Centre is currently represented by Captain (retd) Muhammad Safdar, Khalid Hussain Magsi, Dr Darshan, Syed Iftikharul Hassan, Isphanyar M Bhandara and Tariq Fazal Chaudhry.

In the election, four of six candidates from Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz were elected as members of the Gilgit-Baltistan Council after  was held through a ‘show of hands’ which was introduced to stop involvement of money. Islami Tehreek Pakistan’s Agha Syed Abbas Rizvi and an independent candidate from Diamer Syed Afzal were also elected as members.

Published in The Express Tribune, July 1st, 2016.

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