GILGIT: The Gilgit-Baltistan government has promulgated the Gilgit-Baltistan Order-2018, replacing the GB Empowerment and Self-Governance Order of 2009.

The new order has been approved by the federal cabinet and President Mamnoon Hussain will issue a notification regarding its enforcement on the advice of the prime minister on Tuesday (today).

Addressing a press conference on Monday, GB Law Minister Aurangzeb Khan and Adviser on Information Shams Mir said the new order was protected by the Constitution of Pakistan, which provides political, administrative, financial and judicial powers to GB.

They said that after the approval of the GB Order-2018 by the federal cabinet and endorsement by the National Security Council, the Gilgit-Baltistan Legis­lative Assembly also approved it.

Mamnoon expected to notify Gilgit-Baltistan Order-2018 today

Under the new order, all powers exercised by the GB council, including passing legislation regarding mineral, hydropower and tourism sectors, have been shifted to the GB Assembly.

Mr Mir said that under the reforms, all federal taxes had been suspended. Now the GB people had all rights enjoyed by the people of four provinces of Pakistan, he added.

Aurangzeb Khan said the name of the Gilgit-Baltistan Legislative Assembly had been replaced with the Gilgit-Baltistan Assembly. All powers exercised by the four provincial assemblies under Schedule IV of the Constitution of Pakistan had been entrusted to the GB Assembly, he added.

They said the chief judge of the GB Supreme Appellate Court would be a retired judge of the Supreme Court of Pakistan and the name of the GB chief court had been changed to the high court and the number of high court judges had been raised to two on the demand of the lawyers’ community.

A five-member committee would be formed to depoliticise appointment of judges of the GB Supreme Appellate Court and high court.

They criticised opposition parties for opposing the new reforms and said these parties pursued a propaganda against such measures and misled the masses through bogus documents, but finally they got exposed.

They said the last empowerment order guaranteed only 17 basic rights and that too were limited only to GB, but now in light of the Gilgit-Baltistan Order-2018, a citizen of the area could demand his or her rights at any corner of Pakistan and had access to all apex courts of the country.

Published in Dawn, May 22nd, 2018