GILGIT: The Gilgit-Baltistan Chief Court on Wednesday directed the government and the election commission to hold local body elections in the region immediately.
A two-member bench comprising Chief Justice Malik Haq Nawaz and Justice Ali Baig heard a petition seeking to hold local body elections in GB.
The petitioners included Afaq Ahmed, Nomanullah and Jhangir Shah, while respondents in the case are GB chief minister, chief secretary, chief election commissioner and secretary local bodies.
Local body elections have not been held in GB since 2009.
The petitioners pleaded that under the Constitution of Pakistan and the GB Governance Order 2018, local bodies were integral part of the political system for good governance.
They said under the law the GB government was bound to hold local body polls in the region with immediate effect.
The petitioners argued that political and social activists had been demanding for last many years to hold local body polls but the government was not ready to do so.
Due to absence of local bodies, the GB people have been deprived of fundamental right of being represented through their chosen representatives at the grassroots level, they pointed out.
In its short judgment, the GB Chief Court said the GB government was illegally running the local body institutions through non-elected administrative officials who had been allocating funds in the name of local bodies which was against the principles of fair distribution, transparency and good governance.
The court directed the government to take necessary steps to hold local body polls in Gilgit-Baltistan without delay.
Published in Dawn, April 22nd, 2021