GILGIT: The conduct of Gilgit-Baltistan Council elections by show of hand has been challenged in the GB Election Tribunal.

A former independent candidate, Haji Ali Haider, through his counsel Amjad Hussain Advocate submitted a petition in the Election Tribunal, challenging conduct of council elections through show of hand.

The petitioner stated that the federal government had amended GB Council election rules, replacing the method of secret ballot with show of hands.

The conduct of GB Council elections through show of hands was illegal and unconstitutional, therefore, election of six members for the council be declared null and void. The GB government should be directed to issue fresh schedule of the elections through secret balloting and by transferable vote in accordance with the law, the petitioner prayed.

The petitioner maintained that under the `GB Empowerment and Self Governance Order 2009`, GBLA members had to elect six members of GB Council through secret ballot and transferable vote pattern. He stated that after announcement of council election date, the regional and federal governments introduced amendments to the election laws of GB Council and empowerment order, which was illegal.

The petitioner said the federal government manipulated GB Council elections by violating the dictum of law and verdict of the Supreme Court of Pakistan, therefore the elections be declared null and void and respondents may be directed to issue fresh process for election of six members of the council in accordance with the law.

Six members of the council from the region were elected during the elections held on April 18 through show of hands.

The newly elected members were administered oath by Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif in his capacity as chairman of the Council, during his scheduled visit to GB on Thursday.

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