As Senate elections draw near, a PPP office-bearer in Gilgit-Baltistan (G-B) has written to the president for seeking representation in the Senate.
Advocate Amjad Hussain, Chairman Standing Committee G-B Council, stated, “The PPP government introduced a province-like set-up in the region which to some extent, redressed the grievances of the people of G-B.” Since G-B is not represented in either the national assembly or the Senate, the people of G-B do not have a voice in the bi-cameral legislature and feel divorced from the political mainstream.
The election commission has announced Senate elections this year and awarding a ticket to a representative from G-B will strengthen the political process initiated by the Gilgit-Baltistan Empowerment and Self-governance Order 2009, he said.
G-B has to date been denied representation in the national legislatures because of the absence of a provision in the constitution. After the PPP government upgraded the status of the region and made it equivalent to a province in 2009, a chief minister and a governor were duly appointed. However, rights awareness has grown over the years and the people are now demanding direct representation in parliament or an alternate set-up like that for AJK.
“The PPP is the largest party in mainstream politics and the people of G-B gave the party a two-thirds majority during the general elections held across G-B in 2009, said Hussain.
While talking to The Express Tribune, he said the move would be legal and in line with the constitution as residents of G-B are also Pakistani citizens.
“There is no legal hitch if a seat in the Senate is awarded to a G-B resident,” he said, since it would be from Islamabad. He said the seat could be allotted under the present arrangement since G-B’s status has been redefined.
Published in The Express Tribune, February 1st, 2012.
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