Capacity Building of Young People

Gilgit-Baltistan Elections — Fact Sheet 2020

16th October 2020 | Irtaza Muhammad

Introduction
Gilgit -Baltistan (GB) is an autonomous region located in the Northern part of Pakistan with a separate government and electoral system. The region was a part of the former princely State of Jammu & Kashmir. Gilgit- Baltistan covers an area of 72,971 square kilometers with an estimated population of 1.5 million.


It was ruled under FCR until the 1970s when Prime Minister of Pakistan Zulfiqar Ali Bhutto brought drastic reforms in the governance and administrative structure,dividing Gilgit-Baltistan into several districts. Later, a Legislative Assembly and quasi-provincial status were granted to GB in 2009.

Governance System
Gilgit-Baltistan comprises of the following structures of government.

  • The Gilgit-Baltistan Council (upper house)
  • The Legislative Assembly
  • The Government headed by the Chief Minister who is elected through the majority vote system in the Legislative Assembly
  • A Governor appointed by the President of Pakistan on the advice of the Prime Minister

The Gilgit-Baltistan Council
The GB Council works for policymaking and acts as a bridge between GB and the Government of Pakistan. The GB Council is headed by the Prime Minister of Pakistan called the Chairman of the Council. The Governor of GB serves as the Vice-Chairman while the Chief Minister GB is a member of the council.

Six members are appointed by the Legislative Assembly through voting and six members are “nominated” by the Prime Minister of Pakistan from amongst the Federal Ministers and members of the parliament.

The Legislative Assembly
The Legislative Assembly is an elected body that serves for a term of five years. The Legislative Assembly has a total number of 33 seats.The GB assembly comprises of 24 general seats on which members are elected directly by the registered voters of GB. The Assembly has six seats reserved for women, and three reserved seats for Technocrats and Professional members who are elected indirectly through a party-list proportional representation system.

A brief history of elections
The government of Pakistan passed an Autonomy order known as the Gilgit-Baltistan Empowerment and Self Governance order in 2009 signed by the President of Pakistan Asif Ali Zardari. Elections in Gilgit- Baltistan were held for the first time in 2009. Pakistan People’s Party emerged as the largest party winning 20 seats out of 33. Syed Mehdi Shah took oath as the first-ever Chief Minister of GB.

Elections were held again after completion of the first term in 2015 to elect the second assembly of GB. In this election, Pakistan Muslim League (Nawaz) succeeded by getting 22 seats out of 33. Hafiz Hafeez ur Rehman was sworn in as the second Chief Minister of Gilgit Baltistan.

Following are the detailed results of the 2015 election

Party

Votes

Percentage

General seats

Women
Reserved

Technocrats

Total

Pakistan Muslim League (Nawaz)

125199

33.78 %

16

4

2

22

Tehreek -e-Jafria

18491

4.99%

2

1

1

4

Majlis Wahdat-e-Muslimeen

36510

9.85%

2

1

0

3

Pakistan People’s Party

70965

19.15%

1

0

0

1

Pakistan Tehreek-e- Insaf

40748

10.99%

1

0

0

1

Balawaristan National Front

5259

1.41%

1

0

0

0

Jamiat Ulma-e- Islam (F)

5404

4.45%

1

0

0

0

Muttaiha Qaumi Movement

3382

0.91%

0

0

0

1

Jamaat-e- Islami

3237

0.87%

0

0

0

0

Others

16060

4.33%

0

0

0

0

Total Votes polled

370552

100%

24

6

0

33

Total Voters

617305

100%

       
Results of 2015 Gilgit- Baltistan Election

A pictorial display of Gilgit-Baltistan Assembly constituencies.

2020 Gilgit-Baltistan Election
The Assembly’s term ended on 24th June, 2020. Mir Afzal was sworn in as the caretaker Chief Minister of Gilgit Baltistan on 25th June, 2020. Initially,the Assembly elections were supposed to be held on 18th August 2020. Election activities were on full swing when Covid-19 hit Pakistan in early March and Gilgit-Baltistan appeared it’s hot zone since its eruption. Consequently, the postponement of elections was announced on 12th July, and after a long debate the new polling date was set to be Nov 15, 2020. More than five hundred candidates have submitted their candidature credentials from ten districts of Gilgit-Baltistan. The Election Commission has also finalized the candidate lists for reserved women and technocrat seats after scrutiny.

Sr.No

Party

Leadership

Previous position in LA

Area of influence

1.

Pakistan Muslim League (Nawaz)

Mr. Hafiz urRehman

22

Gilgit, Skardu, Astore, Diamer,Ghanche

2.

Islami-Tehreek Pakistan

Allama Shaikh Mirza Ali

4

Hunza-Nagar, Skardu

3.

MajlisWahdat-e-Muslimeen

Nasir Shirazi

3

Hunza, Skardu

4

Pakistan People’s Party

Syed Mehdi Shah

1

Gilgit, Skardu, Daimer

5

Pakistan Tehreek-e- Insaf

Mr. Jaffar Shah, recently passed away

1

Skardu, Diamer, Ghizer,Ghanche

6

Balawaristan National Front

Mr. Nawaz Khan Naji

0

Ghizer

7

Jamiat Ulma-e- Islam (F)

Haji Shah Baig

0

Diamer

8

Jamaat-e- Islami

Mr. Mushtaq Ahmad Advocate

0

Astore


The fifth province debate
A new development regarding Gilgit-Baltistan took place recently when the Federal Minister for Kashmir Affairs and Gilgit-Baltistan gave a statement regarding the constitutional amendment of GB’s status. The Federal Minister hinted at giving GB the status of a full-fledged province of Pakistan, including its representation in the Senate and National Assembly. The military leadership has also taken up this issue with the opposition parties to obtain their support. It seems that making GB the fifth province of Pakistan is no longer a pipe dream.

Irtaza Muhammad

The writer is associated with the Centre for Peace, Development and Reforms (CPDR).
He can be reached at irtizamuhammad23@gmail.com

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