APP34-27 GILGIT: May 27 – Prime Minister Shahid Khaqan Abbasi addressing members of Gilgit Baltistan Legislative Assembly. APP

GILGIT, May 27 (APP):Prime Minister Shahid Khaqan Abbasi Sunday, while spelling out the provisions of the newly
promulgated Gilgit-Baltistan Order 2018, said the law would make GB government even more
powerful than other provincial governments and grant similar basic rights to the GB residents
without any discrimination.
Addressing the joint session of the Gilgit Baltistan Legislative Assembly and GB Council,
the prime minister said the day would prove to be milestone for the GB as drastic amendments
had been made to ensure development of the region and uplift of the people.
Chaired by Speaker of the Legislative Assembly Fida Muhammad Nashad, the session was
attended by Chief Minister Gilgit Baltistan Hafiz Hafeezur Rehman, Governor Mir Ghazanfar Ali
Khan, Minister for Kashmir Affairs Chaudhry Barjees Tahir, Marvi Memon and members of the
assembly and council.
He said under the order that had replaced GB Empowerment and Self-Governance Order
of 2009, all powers would rest with the GB Assembly and there would be no discrimination
between the fundamental rights, enjoyed by the residents of other provinces and those of
the GB.
The prime minister dismissed the opposition’s criticism and said there was no need of
legislation for the step as it could be done through an order. However, the government
could also get it passed through Parliament where it enjoyed the majority.
The prime minister hoped that if the sitting opposition comes into power in future, they
would not be able to change even a single word of it as no one wanted to give up his
He said the government had been working on the order for the last seven to eight months
and it had been facing resistance from within its own ranks as some people never wanted
to forego their powers.
The prime minister thanked Minister for Kashmir Affairs and Gilgit Baltistan Barjees
Tahir who supported the government despite being opposed from his ministry.
He told the members that under the new order, all the subjects which had been devolved
to provinces under 18th Constitutional Amendment would also stand devolved to GB. The
Gilgit Baltistan Council would only deal with the federal subject, having just an advisory
role, not executive or overriding one.
The prime minister said through such landmark amendments, the GB had been given
even more powers than other province and questioned as why some people were
opposing it.
Explaining further the new order, the prime minister said in future, GB Governor
would be from within the territory and the judges and the chief justice of the high
court would also be locals.
He said like other provinces, the provincial civil service structure would also be
established for GB to employ the locals for public service. Moreover, the GB would
also be given quota in Pakistan Civil Service.
He told the assembly that after now, the Chief Secretaries would be given all powers
so that the people would not need to visit Islamabad for resolution of their issues. A single
consolidated fund would be established and the BG would have the powers to spend it
for development.
The prime minister said the GB was the foundation of China Pakistan Economic
Corridor and after its completion, it would be the most prosperous region in the
However, in order to capitalize the whole potential, the provincial government
would have to play its role as now it enjoyed the power similar to other provincial
The prime minister who earlier also launched work on three development schemes,
two of those, he said were lingering on for last 10 years. He reiterated that it was the
distinction of the PML-N government to not only launch new development projects but
also complete those left incomplete by the previous governments.
He recalled that Lowari Tunnel project was launched when he was 13, but it has been
completed recently by Nawaz Sharif after 45 years.