SUPREME APPELLATE COURT RESTORED MEMBERSHIP OF 6 MEMBERS OF GB COUNCIL
By Shabbir Mir
GILGIT: Gilgit-Baltistan’s Supreme Appellate Court has set aside an election tribunal’s decision to disqualify six members of G-B Council who had been recently elected.
The apex court’s decision restored six councillors. Of these, five belonged to PML-N. They have been identified as Ashraf Sada, Wazir Ikhlaq, Sultan Ali Khan, Arman Shah and Syed Afzal. Islami Tehreek Pakistan’s Agha Syed Abbas Rizvi was the only other candidate who could win.
The court’s decision came in response to an appeal filed by the councillors through their advocates.
“This is a historic decision that upholds the rule of law,” said Saeed Iqbal, a lawyer who pleaded the case on behalf of the councillors. “They are now councillors.”
He was speaking on Sunday – a day after apex court’s decision.
The decision to disqualify members was earlier taken by an election tribunal. As per the tribunal, the decision to hold the polls through a show of hands was taken by the government after the election commission had issued a schedule which they deemed illegal.
The G-B Council elections were held in April through a show of hands. This was challenged by Ali Haider, a candidate, through his lawyer Advocate Amjad Hussain.
The council elections took place after five years in April 2016. The show of hands amendment was included in the G-B Empowerment and Self-Governance Order, 2009 shortly before the election.
The council, established in May 2009 under Article 33 of the 2009 order, was represented by six members each from the federal and G-B governments.
The G-B Council, headed by Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif, enjoyed the status of the upper house of the regional Parliament.
Two of the councilors will later be elected as advisers to prime minister who is the chairperson of the council.
Published in The Express Tribune, July 11th, 2016.