ISLAMABAD - President Asif Ali Zardari Monday signed the Gilgit-Baltistan (Empowerment and Self-Governance) Order 2009 aimed at introducing far-reaching administrative, political, financial and judicial reforms in Northern Areas. The President congratulated the people of Gilgit and Baltistan on the realisation of yet another dream of emancipation. He said that he was happy that the PPP governments and reforms in Northern Areas were interlinked recalling the previous reforms in 1975 and 1994. Explaining the salient features of the Ordinance to media persons, Spokesperson to the President former senator Farhatullah Babar said that Gilgit-Baltistan would now have an elected Legislative Assembly, which would elect the chief minister and a governor to be appointed by the president on the advice of the prime minister. It would also now have its own public service commission, chief election commissioner and an auditor general, he said. Six ministers and two advisors would assist the chief minister elected by the legislative assembly. The legislative assembly would have 24 members who would be elected directly, besides six women and three technocrats seats. It would have powers to make laws on 61 subjects, he said. Farhat said that there would be Gilgit-Baltistan Consolidated Fund and the annual budget would be presented to the assembly and voted upon as per practice in vogue in other provinces of the country. The name of the Northern Areas of Pakistan would be Gilgit-Baltistan. Till the election of the legislative assembly, the minister of Kashmir affairs and Northern Areas would be the acting governor, he added. About the judicial reforms contained in the Ordinance, he said that the chief judge of the Supreme Appellate Court would be appointed by the chairman of the council on the advice of the governor. The chairman, on the advice of governor, shall appoint other judges after seeking views of the chief judge. The number of judges would be increased from three to five, he said. It may be mentioned here that the first major administrative, judicial and political reforms in NAs were introduced in 1975 and Jagirdari Nizam was abolished during the government of Shaheed Zulfikar Ali Bhutto. Further democratisation of the area was done during the government of Shaheed Mohtarma Benazir Bhutto through the Northern Areas Legal Framework Order 1994. The third instalment of major reforms order was signed on Monday by President Asif Ali Zardari, he said.