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GILGIT: The Gilgit-Baltistan (GB) supreme appellate court has issued a stay order allowing GB council members to continue working in their existing capacity pending a decision on the government’s proposal to abolish the body as part of a reform package.

The chief judge of the appellate court, Rana Mohammed Shamim, chaired the proceedings before announcing the order on Tuesday.

The petitioner said he had recently learned about the prime minister’s decision to abolish the GB council. However, he argued, he was an elected member of the council mandated to hold the office until his tenure ended in 2020.

A parliamentary committee, chaired by Sartaj Aziz, Deputy Chairman of the Planning Commission, was established in Oct 2015. Despite several meetings, the committee did not recommend that GB be made the country’s fifth province.

The political reforms being introduced by the Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz (PML-N) government will replace the GB Empowerment and Self Governance Order of 2009.

Published in Dawn, April 27th, 2018