Election commissioner rebuffs reports about postponement of GB Assembly polls
Gigit (TP) July 6, 2020: Election Commissioner Gilgit-Baltistan Raja Shahbaz has denied some media reports about the postponement of the general election for the GB Assembly slated for August 18.
Talking to The Punch, the GB election commissioner said that all was set to hold elections on the scheduled date of August 18 and for which all preparations were underway.
Raja Shahbaz said that a NADRA team from Islamabad was due in Gilgit on Monday (today) for the perusal and finalization of computerized electoral rolls and the voters’ list.
He said that some delegations from Skardu and other districts had called on him, seeking postponement of the general election citing the coronavirus pandemic, however, their demand was not entertained as a majority of candidates and political parties want polls on time.
The GB election commissioner said that constitutionally, the authority was bound to hold elections within the 60-day time and preparations are being made to meet that provision of the law.
He said that coronavirus may remain with us in the foreseeable future, which should be taken as an excuse to postpone the polls.
Raja Shahbaz said that it is better that people elect their representatives so that they use the new budget allocations and set aside them for the development work and other necessary chores.
The GB election commissioner said that he will do everything possible to conduct a free and fair election under the watch of the mainstream and social media.
Earlier, the Supreme Court of Pakistan had allowed the federal government to hold polls for GB Assembly under the Election Act 2017 and by amending Gilgit-Baltistan Order 2018, which did not have the provision for setting up a caretaker government.
Interestingly, the Supreme Court allowed the federal government to hold elections under the Election Act 2017 despite the fact that this law has not been extended to GB
The Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz GB government stepped down on June 24 after completing the five-year term.
In the 2019 verdict, on a set of petitions challenging the Government of Gilgit-Baltistan Order 2018, Gilgit-Baltistan Empowerment and Self Governance Order 2009, the Supreme Court had directed the federal government to take necessary steps to give fundamental and basic human rights to the people of GB, however, the federal government has done nothing on grounds to empower the subjects.