Prepared for local polls, GB electoral watchdog awaits govt nod.

GILGIT -- Gilgit-Baltistan Chief Election Commissioner Raja Shehbaz Khan has said the GB election commission is ready to hold local bodies' (LB) elections, which have not been held for the last 18 years creating problems for the masses, in the region.

Talking to Dawn on Tuesday, Mr Khan said GB Local Bodies Act needed to be passed by the region's assembly and that was blocking the holding of LB polls, adding that the GB government had the mandate to announce holding of local bodies elections in the region.

Mr Khan said the GB Election Commission had made all preparations to hold free and fair local government elections and it was even ready to hold general elections in GB.

'Local bodies' elections have not been held in GB for the last 18 years. Local bodies are important for resolution of people's problems at the grassroots level as they strengthen democratic institutions and because of this the region will be on the path of development,' Mr Khan said, adding that in any society, local government institutions played a key role in resolving the people's problems on their doorstep.

He said the GB Election Commission had started the process of holding local elections and 1,300 employees from various departments had been deputed to conduct the process of door-to-door verification of voters' lists.

Gilgit-Baltistan CEC says local elections not held in region for 18 years; PTI, PPP trade barbs over legislation

The GB chief election commissioner asked heads of all political parties of Gilgit-Baltistan to fully cooperate with the GB election commission in performing this important national duty so that the upcoming local bodies' elections were held in a free, fair and transparent manner.

When contacted by Dawn, GB Minister of Law Syed Sohail Abbas Shah, who belongs to PTI, claimed the GB government was serious in holding local bodies elections in the region.

He said GB government had prepared a draft bill of local bodies act to get it passed from the GB Assembly.

He said the draft bill of the local bodies act would be first approved by the GB cabinet and then it would be tabled in the assembly for approval and then local elections would be held in the region.

However, the opposition leader in the GB Assembly, Amjad Hussain, told Dawn that the PTI government in the region did not want to hold local elections and transfer of power at the grassroots level in the region.


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