GILGIT: Elections in Gilgit – Baltistan [G-B], supposed to take place by the end of this year, have fallen victim to the ongoing ‘dharnas’ staged by Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaaf [PTI] and Pakistan Awami Tehreek [PAT] in the federal capital.
The federal government, beleaguered by the two parties, has not been able to find enough time to address the issue of G-B elections allowing a constitutional breakdown to take place on December 11.
“The G-B government will step aside on December 11 after completing its five-year term, and with it G-B will plunge into a constitutional crisis as the Governance Order 2009 has no provision for a caretaker setup,” said regional Hafeezur Rahman, regional chief of Pakistan Muslim League – Nawaz [PML-N] – the party which in power in federation.
“The federal government was working on an election schedule but the dharnas have resulted in its delay as government’s attention is on settling the dharnas,” Hafeez said on Saturday.
He said “I repeatedly pointed out this vacuum and asked the chief minister Mehdi Shah to hold elections under his supervision in October but he didn’t take it seriously,” he said referring to Mehdi Shah’s statements that went against his opinion. Shah told assembly recently that elections would be held next year, overlooking the likely constitutional imbroglio. Law minister Ali Madad however said the governance order 2009 would be amended to install a caretaker setup.
The political impasse rocked Islamabad hasn’t spared G-B either. With their fingers crossed, the residents especially politicians in the region are anxiously waiting for an outcome. “This should come to an end. This isn’t going to give us anything,” said Murtaza, a resident.
The pro-government parties, led by PML-N organized a car rally in Gilgit on Friday expressing solidarity with the government.
“We will not allow anybody to rob peoples’ mandate,” Hafeez told the rally.