Gilgit: The Gilgit Baltistan Bar Council thanked, appreciated and loaded the sincere efforts of Respected Members of Senate of Pakistan Mr. Afrasiab Khattack Chairman and its team particularly Senator Raza Rabani, Farhat Ullah Babar & Mushahid Hussain for taking serious notice of Human Rights violation in Gilgit Baltistan with special reference to deprivation of constitutional rights of the people and bringing this issue on the agenda of the Standing Committee on Human Rights of Senate of Pakistan, said the statement issued after an extra ordinary meeting presided over by its vice president Mr Shehbaz Khan advocate.
The meeting hoped that the Chairman and Members of the committee will raise the issue in the Senate by tabling a resolution on this sensitive issue of denial of fundamental rights to the people of Gilgit Baltistan since 67 years of liberation, making this region left on the global earth as the only area having no constitutional status even in this 21st century.
The meeting reiterated that the Gilgit Baltistan is not a parasite or burden on the economy rather a strategic asset of Pakistan being a Jugular Vein in all respects because of its geographical, stratigical & economical importance.
Unfortunately the rulers sitting in Islamabad never bothered to realize this fact by treating the people and the region accordingly by bringing them at par with the other parts of Pakistan or AJK or even Indian Occupied Jammu & Kasjmir in terms of constitutional & political rights despite the fact that the UNCIP resolutions, to whom Pakistan being a “signaturee” is under obligation to give the people of Gilgit Baltistan a “Local Authority” as given in the cases of other parties of J& K and AJK of Kashmir Dispute.
The meeting declared that the denial of fundamental Rights guaranteed under a constitution to the People of Gilgit Baltistan since 1947 is not only a violation of United Nations International Charter of Human Rights but also a deviation from the UNCIP Resolutions on Kashmir dispute as well as a deliberate disobedience of the orders and directions of the Honorable Supreme Court of Pakistan given on 28th May 1999 to give the people of GB fundamental rights to govern themselves through their chosen representatives and access to an independent judiciary “guaranteed under the Constitution” within 06 months.
The 72000 Sq Km area of Gilgit Baltistan, was liberated by the local people by themselves and the Revolutionary Government of Islamic Republic of Gilgit made accession with Pakistan voluntarily. But surprisingly the area is still undefined and not made part of Pakistan despite 67 years struggle & demand of people of Gilgit Baltistan for constitutional amalgamation, which is unique in the political history of mankind where the history speaks about numerous movements for separation but none for amalgamation. Practically, the Gilgit Baltistan is being treated like “an occupied and conquered colony” by the Ministry of K & GB Islamabad having exclusive powers to rule this region through remote controlled governing system by legislation & adaptation of laws through Executive Orders unlawfully and unconstitutionally in the shape of Frontier Crimes Regulation (FCR) , Legal Frame Work Orders (LFO,s) & Governance Orders from time to time since 1947.
Unconstitutional & Unlawful Legislation through issuance of Executive Orders of Ministry of K & GB Islamabad in respect of Gilgit Baltistan:
The meeting showed serious concerns and reservations on the recent issuance of an Executive Order by the Ministry of K & GB Islamabad officials regarding terms and conditions of Service of Chief Election Commissioner in Gilgit Baltistan by repealing the previous GB Chief Election Commission Act passed by the elected representatives of Gilgit Baltistan Legislative Assembly in 2010. The meeting termed this executive order as an eye opening jolt which has factually exposed the reality of the so called claim of “Empowerment & Self Governing rights” given to the people of Gilgit Baltistan .
The decades old remote controlled colonial governing system of Gilgit Baltistan through Executive Orders, what so ever made or being made by the Ministry of K & GB Islamabad, the meeting declared, as totally illegal, unlawful without authority and unconstitutional as neither people of Gilgit Baltistan gave such powers nor the Constitution of I R of Pakistan or Rules of Business 1973 assigned such powers to the Ministry of K & GB Islamabad to make legislation in respect of Gilgit Baltistan. The meeting reiterated that all the Ministries and Divisions of the Federal Government in Islamabad including the Ministry of K & GB Islamabad, are under constitutional obligation to exercise powers and authority strictly assigned by the Constitution of IR of Pakistan and the Rules of Business 1973 thereafter framed. The Entry No. 20 of Schedule II of Rules of Business 1973 authorizes Ministry of K & GB Islamabad to deal matters of Gilgit Baltistan upto the extent of policy, planning, development, coordination with GB Government & Council, processing of Development Schemes at CDWP and ECNEC level, coordination between Federal Government & GB Government & Council, population factor in development process & Zakat & Ushr only. The Rules of Business 1973 or Constitution of I R of Pakistan does not confer any kind of political, administrative or legislative powers to Ministry of K & GB Islamabad in respect of Gilgit Baltistan as happened in case of Ministry of SAFRON Islamabad empowered to deal with the matters of political, administrative & legislative of Tribal Areas, being constitutional parts of Pakistan, under Entry No. 35 of Schedule II of Rules of Business 1973.
Thus any kind of legislation through adaptation of laws or issuance of executive orders by the Ministry of K & GB for Gilgit Baltistan, in legal terms, is unlawful, unconstitutional and without authority and lacks legal sanctity. The meeting decided to challenge the same before the appropriate forums at the earliest.
The meeting opined that the people of Gilgit Baltistan are being treated as drum driven cattle and has been made as sacrifice goats in the name of so called Kashmir Dispute with a malafide intention to keep the area & the people under the clutches of colonial system to deprive the people of GB from their fundamental rights to govern themselves through their chosen representatives guaranteed under a constitution as decided & directed by the Supreme Court of Pakistan vide its judgment given in 1999 (Ref: 1999 SCMR 1379).
The meeting showed its disappointment on the mishandling with the people of GB by governing them through bureaucratic executive orders as third grade citizens since independence instead of giving them the same constitutional & political rights enjoyed by the actual parties to Kashmir Dispute, that is, AJK & Indian occupied J &K since long. The AJK is comparatively in a better position than that of GB having an“Act” based governing system at least since 1969 & 1974 although not having a constitutional status yet. At the same time, the people of Indian occupied Jammu & Kashmir, has got special constitutional status and full representation in the constitutional forums in Central Government under Article 370 of Indian Constitution since 1948, in addition to having their own Jammu & Kashmir Constitution passed by the J & K Constituent Assembly in 1957 .
The meeting regretted to note that due to continuous mishandling of the “affairs” of Gilgit Baltistan, situation herein has become very fragile and alarming. The disappointment has reached up to its maximum level. The time has come that the Pakistani Parliament , the Supreme Court of Pakistan , the Political Government & most importantly the Security Concerned Institutions of Pakistan particularly the Pak Army, should come forward without wastage of time and take serious notice of negative impacts on the people of GB due to severe kind of sense of deprivation prevailing since 1947.
The meeting pointed out that the people of Gilgit Baltistan are very much aware of the existence of the Pakistan China Agreement made in 1963 wherein 2000 Sq Km of Gilgit Baltistan has been given to P R of China in exchange of 735 Sq km by the GOP. The people of GB have a right to question legitimacy of this act to sign a pact about the territories of GB, “if it is a disputed territory”. The people of Gilgit Baltistan are justified to ask question from the Federation that whether giving 2000 sq km area of GB to China in exchange of just 735 Sq km area, affected the stance of Pakistan on Kashmir Dispute ??? If not, then how it will affect if the people of Gilgit Baltistan be given their fundamental rights to govern themselves through their chosen representatives guaranteed by a “constitution” under the domain of Local Authority as committed by GOP with UNCIP and enjoyed by the other parties to Kashmir dispute as well ?? The meeting warned that further denial of fundamental rights guaranteed under a “Constitution” to the people of Gilgit Baltistan shall not be in the larger interest of I. R of Pakistan having crucial political, stratigical & economical interests in this sensitive region. The dreaming of making Pakistan an Economical Tiger of Asia through constructing Economic Corridor crossing 600 Km of GB will not become a reality until and unless the two million people of GB are not given their due constitutional, political, social and economical rights.
The Meeting thus demanded Federation of Pakistan to give the people of Gilgit Baltistan their fundamental rights to govern themselves through their chosen representatives & access to an independent judiciary “guaranteed under a constitution” without further delay. The people of Gilgit Baltistan are human beings like others and deserve to have same constitutional & political rights enjoyed by the people of Pakistan or at least same rights given to the people of Jammu & Kashmir by the Indian Government in 1948 & 1957.
The meeting demanded Federation of Pakistan to consult the GB Bar Council being the sole representative statutory body of lawyers community of Gilgit Baltistan while formulation of any kind of proposal concerning legal and constitutional status of the area. Any proposal lacking input of representative bodies of legal fraternity of GB will not be acceptable at all.
I. The meeting decided to hold a Gilgit Baltistan Lawyers Conference as well as Political Parties Conference at Gilgit on this sensitive issue in shortest possible time.
II. The meeting further decided to sensitize the issue at national level as well by holding a Conference/Seminar in this regard at Islamabad/ Muzaffar Abad AJK with the collaboration of Pakistan Bar Council , AJK Bar Council & Human Rights Commission of Pakistan tentatively between January - April 2015.
Discouraging Policy of the GB Government/GB Council & Ministry of K & GB Islamabad towards Legal Fraternity of Gilgit Baltistan.
The meeting regretted with deep concern that the Government of Gilgit Baltistan, GB Council & the Ministry of K & GB Islamabad have showed very hostile & inimical approach towards legal community of Gilgit Balitan while making appointments in Apex Judiciary, Administrative Courts, Services Tribunal, Election Commission and even in the law Related Forum of Prosecutor General, Deputy Advocate General, Additional Advocate General, Deputy Prosecutor General, Prosecutors like law related Posts contrary to the policy and practice prevailing in Pakistan and AJK.
The meeting condemned & rejected such unfriendly acts of the responsible personals & formulation of antagonistic recruitment and terms and conditions of service rules in this regard aiming “ousting” of the entire lawyers community from the race. The meeting demanded immediate with drawl of such “legislations” and “rules” and to re enact & reframe the same by bringing at par with the laws and rules prevailing in Pakistan & AJK. The meeting further decided to knock the doors of the Apex Judiciary if the matter not resolved shortly.
Establishment of Administrative Courts, Amendments In Special Laws for Appointment of Lawyers as Judge Special Courts
The meeting showed its serious reservations on the policy of GB Council & GB Government with regard to appointments in Administrative Courts in GB & extra ordinary delay in establishment of “separate” Special Courts of Customs Court, Banking Courts, Narcotics & Drugs Court, Accountability Court & other Administrative Courts as functioning in Pakistan & AJK. The Meeting endorsed apprehensions of the legal community of Gilgit Baltistan regarding reports of importing non local retired judges & lawyers against the posts in the Apex Judiciary as well as in Administrative Courts in GB. The meeting made it clear that any move in this regard shall be opposed with full force. The meeting demanded the GB Council & GB Government to make amendments in the relevant Special Laws through Promulgation of Ordinances to make the Lawyers, having eligibility to be a Judge of High Court/Chief Court, be Eligible to be appointed as a judge in any special court as well to tackle the Problem of shortage of District & Sessions Judges in GB.