Under the Gilgit-Baltistan Order-2018, which replaced the GB Empowerment and Self-Governance Order of 2009, all powers exercised by the GB council, including passing legislation regarding mineral, hydropower and tourism sectors, were shifted to the GB Assembly.
However, a large number of residents of the region along with the combined opposition in the Gilgit-Baltistan Legislative Assembly (GBLA) rejected the order and said that GB should be declared a part of Pakistan instead of being administered through presidential orders.
As a result of widespread protests against the order, the Supreme Appellant Court had accepted GBLA member Saeed Afzal's petition under Article 61 of the GB Empowerment and Self-Governance Order 2009, The petitioner had asked the court to declare the GB Order 2018 illegal and issue a stay order against it.
The appellant court had also issued contempt of court notice to respondents — former prime minister Shahid Khaqan Abbasi as chairman of the GB Council, federal minister for Kashmir affairs and GB and joint secretary of the council — for violation of law.
The court had also restored the GB Empowerment and Self-Governance Order 2009 in the region.
The government had, in turn, moved the SC against the GB Appellant Court's order and demanded that GB Order 2018 be restored.
In today's hearing, Chief Justice of Pakistan Saqib Nisar, heading a three-judge bench, restored the 2018 ordinance and said that it was the government's responsibility to ensure that the people of GB are treated the same as the citizens of any other part of the country.