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Smoothsailing Transition


INDEED the smooth-sailing transition to the 2nd caretaker government upon completion of its term by the outgoing PML-N government augurs well. It would certainly pave the way in the like manner, for the polls in a congenial atmosphere to get the process going equally smoothly. 
The prospective elections for GBLA will be 3rd election holding promise of an uninterrupted continuity since the very first government formed after the general GBLA elections in the wake of promulgation of Gilgit-Baltistan Governance Order, 2009. Governor Gilgit-Baltistan Raja Jalal Hussain Maqpon administered oath to the caretaker Chief Minister Mir Afzal Khan the day before after he latter’s selection and appointment was notified by the federal government vide notification as follows: “Pursuant to Article 48-A(2) of the Government of Gilgit-Baltistan Order, 2018, the Chairman of the Gilgit-Baltistan Council in consultation with the incumbent Chief Minister, Gilgit-Baltistan, the leader of the opposition in the out-going Gilgit-Baltistan Legislative Assembly and the Federal Minister for Kashmir Affairs and Gilgit-Baltistan is pleased to select and appoint Mr. Mir Afzal as Care-taker Chief Minister Gilgit-Baltistan.
2. The Care-taker Chief Minister, Gilgit-Baltistan shall make oath before entering upon the office in the form set out in the First Schedule of the of the Government of Gilgit-Baltistan Order 2018.” But nevertheless, both the outgoing chief minister and the former opposition leader referred to therein seem to categorically deny their having been consulted in regard to this decision making. As regards putting in place the caretaker cabinet, it is said to be still a process on the anvil with various aspirants reportedly called to the capital for interviews. It is not understood why such viva voce became essential in seeing that the caretaker chief minister could have been enabled to choose and install his cabinet albeit in consultation with the stakeholders locally. Unfortunately, the spike in the pandemic in GB impedes holding general elections here a recent surge in the pandemic with rising number of Covid-19 patients across GB vis a vis the prime responsibility of the caretaker government to hold the general elections within the given time-frame and in a fair, free and transparent to help install the 3rd elected government. In such scenarios, a caretaker government with the immaculate credentials of neutrality and non-partisanship has to perform the crucial task.

 In order to clear all the decks and pave the way for a level playing to all those in the run to go on the campaign trail and slug it out during the course to help form the upcoming government attuned to the democratic spirit. In retrospect, it is to reiterate that while hearing the case , the CJ of the Supreme of Pakistan Justice Gulzar Ahmad while heading the petition of the federation regarding putting in place caretaker government before holding general elections in GB, a 7-member larger Bench, allowed the government to hold general elections in GB and as prelude, setup a caretaker government. Moreover, the SC observed that the people of GB should be given the same rights which are available to the citizenry of Pakistan. During the course, Justice Ijaz Ul Hassan remarked under what laws the earlier elections in GB were held also noting why the government did not make necessary legislation till this date in this context after the Supreme Court decision of 2019. It is to be seen that after the enforcement of Gilgit-Batistan Empowerment & Governance Order 2009, first elections were held in GB the same year which was followed by the very second elections held in 2015. And now, polls for the third GBLA elections are to take place in the wake of completion of 05-year term of the outgoing PML-N government on June 24. In short, the intervention of the SC and resultant issuance of resultant directives dated April 30, resolved the issue altogether and paved the way for the setting up of caretaker government for holding elections in GB. These elections aimed at induction of the 3rd successive government on one hand, assumes great significance insofar as justly and judiciously evolving the democratic process here is concerned. People at large, are required to freely exercise their will to vote in such people who may be worthy of representing them. Democratic evolution anywhere could be in sum has to be a constant synthesis of the process in vogue to get all along prudently by unfailingly opting to evaluate the competence of individual contestants in order to sift out only those who are genuinely committed to resolving the region’s core issues. It is such a democratic spirit alone that can cumulatively be generative of a truly representative government. 

The writer is an Islamabad-based freelance contributor, blogger belonging to Gilgit-Baltistan. He can be reached at shamskazmi.syed@gmail.com. For details visit Blog: windowtogb.blogspot.com

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