ISLAMABAD - President Dr Arif Alvi on Wednesday approved summary about general elections for the Legislative Assembly of Gilgit-Baltistan to be held on November 15 this year.

According to President’s media wing, the summary was sent by Prime Minister Imran Khan. There are 33 seats in the G-B Legislative Assembly, out of which three are reserved for technocrats and six for women.

Elections are to be held for the remaining 24 seats. More than 700,000 people will cast their votes, of which about 45 per cent are women.

This is the first time a woman has been allowed to stand for the elections from the G-B Assembly. Over a dozen political and religious parties including the country's three major parties Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI), Pakistan Peoples’ Party (PPP) and Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz (PML-N) will contest the elections.

On September 17, Minister for Kashmir and Gilgit-Baltistan Affairs, Ali Amin Gandapur had said that the government decided to elevate G-B to the status of a full-fledged province with all constitutional rights, including its representation in the Senate and the National Assembly.

More than 700,000 people will cast their votes

The minister had said that the Prime Minister would soon visit the region and make the formal announcement in this regard. “After consultation with all stakeholders, the federal government has decided in principle to give constitutional rights to Gilgit-Baltistan,” the minister told a delegation of journalists from G-B. “Our government has decided to deliver on the promise it made to the people there,” Gandapur said.

On the other hand, all the parliamentary parties in the National Assembly and the Senate have agreed to make G-B a new province. A group of parliamentarians mostly from the opposition parties have also conveyed their support to the government decision of making the G-B a province to the military leadership. According to sources a delegation of all the opposition in the parliament recently held a meeting with Chief of Army Staff General Qamar Javed Bajwa and conveyed their support to make G-B as fifth province of Pakistan. Leader of the Opposition in the National Assembly Shehbaz Sharif and PPP Chairman Bilawal Bhutto Zardari were also present in the meeting.

Meanwhile, President phones martyred Army jawans families

President Dr Arif Alvi on Wednesday phoned families of the Army Jawans who embraced martyrdom in North Waziristan and Bajaur, said a Press release issued by the President’s media wing. It said that during the telephonic conversation with the families of martyrs Havaldar Tajbar Ali, Sepoy Rasheed and Sepoy Sabir Shah, he prayed for the departed souls and fortitude for the bereaved families.

The President paid tributes to martyrs for their valour and services.