GILGIT: GB government on Monday formally promulgated Gilgit Baltistan Order 2018 which provides for devolution of greater administrative authority and financial powers to it.

Addressing a press conference, provincial law minister Aurangzeb and information adviser Shams Mir said it was an historic and consensus initiative which would bring Gilgit Baltistan region on par with other provinces of the country in terms of socio-economic development.

Referring to the opposition, they said political orphans took to social media to do propaganda against such measures and mislead masses through bogus documents but finally they got exposed and the GB Order 2018 was enforced which features reforms on judiciary, legislative and administrative levels. They said these drastic reforms had been basic demand of people of the area and now they were witnessing the same materializing in the shape of GB Order 2018 which guaranteed all fundamental rights of people of area.

They said in the last empowerment order guaranteed only 17 basic rights and that too was limited only to GB, but now in light of the new order, a citizen of the area could demand his or her rights at any corner of the country and has access to all higher courts of the country. They said a five-member committee had been constituted to depoliticise appointment of judges in GB and the prime minister would appoint judges in apex courts on its recommendations.

They said name of chief court had been changed into high court and number of high court judges had been raised to two on demand of the lawyers’ community.

Under the reforms, they added, only a retired judge of Pakistan Supreme Court would be appointed to the office of chief justice GB appellate court. They said that name of Legislative Assembly had been changed into Gilgit Baltistan Assembly and would have same legislative powers as other provinces of the country including powers under the Schedule-IV of the country’s Constitution. The GB Order 2108 also shifted powers of the Gilgit Baltistan Council to Gilgit Baltistan Assembly, entrusting it with powers to make legislations regarding mineral, hydropower and tourism sectors.