By Shabbir Mir
GILGIT: Minister for Local Government Wazir Farman Ali has said the Gilgit-Baltistan government has achieved an important milestone by introducing amendments in the G-B LG Act, 2014 which will be implemented soon. LG elections in the region will now be held under the amended act which will help address public issues on a more local level.
These views were expressed by the minister while speaking to The Express Tribune on Monday. He said, “The amendments in the act were made keeping public concerns in mind.” Ali added, “The act now has the capacity to address all public issues with few hurdles.” The minister said assembly members and other stakeholders will be taken into confidence if deemed necessary so changes in the act could be made.
Regarding the elections, Ali pointed out, “LG polls in G-B will allow people to vote for their favorite party and candidate.” He said, “Preparations are in full swing and we will be able to hold elections soon. NADRA is preparing computerised electoral lists which are in the final stages.”
The LG minister added, “The schedule for the polls will be announced after NADRA provides the data to the government.” Ali hoped the devolution of power to the grass-roots level through the act will help people get their issues and problems resolved with ease. “This is the best way to address the problems of the people,” he said.
Meanwhile, Gilgit-Baltistan Policy Institute (GBPI) President Altaf Hussain commented, “The draft of the bill has been completed and the government will issue a notification after fulfilling the due process.”
The LG Act 2014 was drafted by GBPI, a non-profit organisation, after holding a series of consultations with stakeholders in G-B and Islamabad.
The project ‘Support for Implementation of Gilgit-Baltistan Local Government Act 2014’ which was initiated on June 16, 2015, was meant to improve legislative governance in G-B. Financial support was extended by the office of the US Assistance for International Aid through ‘Citizen’s Voice Project’ under a sub-contract signed with Trust for Democratic Education & Accountability Pakistan.
Under the project, technical assistance was provided to G-B government in developing rules of business for the finance commission, local government commission, local council board, and district tehsil union councils.
Published in The Express Tribune, December 29th, 2015.