|Pakistan's First Independent Complete Daily E-Newspaper|
|ISSN 1729-7915||Editor: Mumtaz Hamid Raoemail@example.com
Wednesday, May 22, 2013
Zil-Hajj 09, 1432 AH
| ||Cabinet Approves:
Self-Governance Package for Northern Areas
'Pakistan Times' Special Correspondent
ISLAMABAD: The Cabinet on Saturday approved a self-governance reforms package for the country’s Northern Areas aimed at giving it full internal autonomy besides changing its nomenclature to
The specially convened meeting of the Cabinet unanimously approved the Order’s draft after being discussed with all the stake holders.
The Prime Minister said a high-powered Committee under the chairmanship of Minister for Kashmir and Northern Areas (KANA) prepared the reforms package to provide autonomy to the area.
He mentioned that all major improvements for Northern Areas were made during the period of Pakistan Peoples Party including the first Northern Areas Council Legal Framework Order 1974-75 by Shaheed Zulfikar Ali Bhutto and further democratization through Northern Areas Legal Framework Order 1994 by Shaheed Mohtarma Benazir Bhutto.
Giving details of the Order’s salient features, Gilani said the Gilgit-Baltistan Assembly will formulate its own Rules of Procedures, while legislation on various subjects pertinent to governance will be done by the Council and Assembly in their respective jurisdiction.
Prime Minister said the area would be given full rights as Azad Jammu and Kashmir, however it could not be given provincial status as per the Constitution.
Regarding any impact on the UN document about on Northern Areas, Gilani said both Foreign Office and the AJK President had been taken onboard before the decision.
To a question, he said the Council did not need parliament’s shelter as it had its own Rules of Business, while Boundary Commission had already been constituted. He said election of Chief Minister will be held in mid November.
Qamar Zaman Kaira, Minister for KANA said the approved Order will be sent to President Asif Ali Zardari for final consent.
The Prime Minister said the New Order has fifteen major parts, while the new name of Northern Areas of Pakistan shall be Gilgit-Baltistan as proposed under Article-2(f).
He said there shall be a Governor of Gilgit-Baltistan as proposed under Article-20 and shall be appointed by the President of Pakistan. Till the election of the new legislative Assembly, Federal Minister for KANA will act as Governor.
He said the decision will empower the Gilgit-Baltistan Council and Assembly to make laws. The subject under which the Assembly shall now have power to make law has increased from 49 to 61 while the Council shall have 55 subjects.
The Prime Minister said in order to empower the Council and the Assembly on financial matters, there shall be a Council Consolidated Fund under article 54, and Gilgit-Baltistan Consolidated Fund under article 55.
Regarding annual budget, he said a detailed item-wise budget shall be presented before the Gilgit-Baltistan Assembly as being practiced in Pakistan and shall be accordingly voted upon as suggested in article 56.
The Chief Judge of Supreme Appellate Court shall be appointed by the Chairman of the Council on the Advice of the Governor and other Judges shall be appointed by the Chairman on the Advice of Governor after seeking views of the Chief Judge, he added.
He said the Chief Judge and Judges of the Chief Court shall be appointed by the Chairman of the Council on the advice of the Governor on the same pattern as it is being practiced in AJK. He mentioned that number of judges had been increased from three to five. The tenure of the present judges of the Supreme Judiciary has been protected in the draft.
Another step forward to empower the people of the areas, the Prime Minister said is the establishment of Gilgit-Baltistan Public Service Commission and Gilgit-Baltistan Services under Article-80 and 81.
He said Auditor General Gilgit-Baltistan will be appointed by the Governor on the advice of Council as the case in AJK. He said there shall be a Chief Election Commissioner under Article-82 as well as Auditor General besides emergency provisions under article-83 and 87 respectively.
Talking to a delegation comprising members of Northern Areas Council and notables, which called on him here at the Prime Minister Secretariat on Saturday afternoon, Gilani said that elections for Gilgit-Baltistan Legislative Assembly would be held on schedule under the new Governance Order 2009.
He hoped that the Council members would play their role in the strengthening of democratic institutions and new administrative set up adding that the decision would greatly contribute towards welfare of the masses.
The Prime Minister congratulated the delegation members on behalf of the Cabinet and the whole nation on this historic occasion. The delegation members invited Prime Minister to visit Gilgit-Baltistan.
The Prime Minister said he would soon visit the area to personally felicitate the people of Gilgit-Baltistan and would announce a comprehensive package for these areas.
Speaking on the occasion, Federal Minister for Kashmir and Northern Areas Affairs (KANA) Qamar Zaman Kaira termed the decision a great achievement. He thanked the Prime Minister and the Cabinet on behalf of the people of Northern Areas.
The delegation, on behalf of the people of Gilgat-Baltistan thanked the Prime Minister and the Cabinet for the historic decision. They also appreciated the personal efforts of Federal Minister for KANA, Qamar Zaman Kaira in this regard.
Meanwhile, Minister for Kashmir Affairs and Northern Areas (KANA) Qamar Zaman Kaira would take the charge as Acting Governor of Northern Areas following the Federal Cabinet approved self-governance reforms package aimed at giving it full internal autonomy besides changing its nomenclature to Gilgit-Baltistan.
A high-powered Committee under the chairmanship of Minister for Kashmir and Northern Areas Qamar Zaman Kaira prepared the reforms package to provide autonomy to the area. The approved Order will be sent to President Asif Ali Zardari for final consent.
Kaira would be the only Federal Minister for KANA who would become Governor of Gilgit-Baltistan as in future the two offices would be separated.
Qamar Zaman Kaira has been active supporter of changing the status of Northern Areas and granting the people of the area their rights. He as a minister of Kashmir and Northern Areas made untiring efforts for bringing about change in lives of the people of Gilgit-Baltistan. Keeping in mind his effort the Federal Government has named him as first Governor of the area.
Qamar Zaman Kaira, born on January 5, 1960 in district Gujrat emerged as a vocal and prominent student leader, and he was elected president student union in Federal Government College Gujrat. He entered politics by joining Pakistan Peoples Party. Qamar Zaman was always known as one to raise his voice for freedom of speech and democracy during the time of martial law in the country.
Due to relentless work for welfare of the people of his constituency, he was elected Member National Assembly on PPP ticket in 2002 and served as Member Public Accounts Committee, National Assembly. He also remained Chairman Standing Committee SAFRON.
After the PPP came to power in 2008 elections,he was assigned the responsibilities of the Ministry of KANA. In March 2009 he was also given charge of Ministry of Information and Broadcasting.