ISLAMABAD, Sept. 7 (Xinhua) -- President Asif Ali Zardari on Monday signed the Gilgit-Baltistan Internal Autonomy Ordinance 2009,allowing the region to exercise its political dependence, local TV channel ARY News reported.
In its special meeting Aug. 29, Pakistan's federal cabinet approved the Gilgit-Baltistan Empowerment and Self-Governance Order 2009, which would be implemented through a presidential ordinance.
Pakistani Prime Minister Yousuf Raza Gilani earlier said that replacing the Northern Areas Governance Order 1994, Gilgit-Baltistan had been proposed as the new official name of the Northern Areas where a governor would be appointed by the president to represent the federation.
Besides changing its nomenclature to Gilgit Baltistanr, the government aimed at giving the Northern Areas full internal autonomy, local media reported.
Gilani said the Chief Minister of the region will be elected by the Gilgit-Baltistan Legislative Assembly, who will be assisted by six ministers.
The Northern Areas is the northernmost part of Pakistan. It became a single administrative unit in 1970 under the name "Northern Areas." With its administrative center at the town of Gilgit, Gilgit Baltistan covers an area of 72,971 square kilometers and has an estimated population of 1,000,000.