Tuesday, November 10, 2015

Lawyers seek provincial status for Gilgit Baltistan

Gilgit: The Gilgit Baltistan Lawyers' action committee has sent recommendations to a federal body on constitutional status of GB, which is meeting in Islamabad on Nov 12 to discuss and finalize a political and constitutional reforms package for the region.
Headed by PM's adviser Sartaj Aziz, the federal committee was constituted at the Prime Minister's directives to make recommendations for bringing political and constitutional reforms in GB.
The GB Lawyer's action committee recommended amendment in the article 1(2) of the constitution of Pakistan to include GB in the territory of Pakistan till decision on the Kashmir dispute. It recommended that an additional article 257-A be inserted in the constitution by giving the GB a special status as "provincial unit" having powers to legislate on all subjects except defense, foreign affairs, communication, finance and currency.
The Lawyers' body proposed amendments in article 175 of the constitution to extend the jurisdiction of Supreme Court of Pakistan to GB.
It said the federal ministry of Kashmir Affairs and GB be directed that after making necessary amendments in the Empowerment and Self-Governance Order, 2009, it table the same before the GBLA for endorsement and enactment as GB Governance Act.
The Lawyers body recommended that a provision in the Order be inserted declaring that the next elections in GB shall be held for electing a "constituent assembly"; it sought revival of state subject rules to protect property and citizenship rights of GB people.
It sought 100 per cent local representation in the Gilgit-Baltistan Council having its own elected chairman and deputy chairman with headquarters in Gilgit. "The role and status f GB Council should be brought at par with the Kashmir Council of AJK".
The Lawyers recommended that revenue generating subjects of hydro power, mineral, forest and tourism be inserted in the legislative list of GBLA.
The Lawyers body suggested that instead of GB Council, the region's chief minister be consulted for making postings of IGP and chief secretary.
The nomenclature of the present superior courts and judges in GB be changed into GB Supreme Court and chief judge and judge be declared as chief justice and justice subsequently.
The number of judges in GB Apex Court be increased to give and in GB chief Court to seven.
Furthermore, the appointment of judges in the apex courts must be brought at par with the system prevailing in Pakistan.

PR--The Legal Fraternity of GB considers the same governing system as most appropriate, suitable and viable for Gilgit Baltistan as well because of the following reasons:
 i.   It will ensure stratigical, political & economical interest of Pakistan in this sensitive region without any harm to principal stand of Pakistan on Kashmir Issue.
ii.   It will redress 68 years severe kind of sense of deprivation of people of GB  regarding their fundamental rights  to govern themselves through their chosen representatives and access to an independent judiciary guaranteed by constitutions.
iii.  It will accommodate views and sentiments of all the three political thoughts prevailing in GB including those making the GB as constitutional province of Pakistan, secondly the group  linking the issue with Kashmir Conflict & thirdly the newly emerging school of thought seeking  the GB as an independent state.
iv.  It will shut the mouth of Indian Government as well who did the same act with the Occupied J & K in 1948 & 1957.
v.   It will fulfill the directions & judgment of Supreme Court of Pakistan made on 28th May 1999 (1999 SCMR 1379)  to ensure a governing and judicial system in GB guaranteed under the constitution.
 It will be in the larger interest of Federation of Pakistan itself to settle this most sensitive issue at the earliest by making amendments in Constitution of Pakistan declaring Gilgit Baltistan at least, its Provisional Constitutional Unit till the settlement of Kashmir Dispute and give the people of GB representation in all Federal Constitutional Forums & other institutions as done by India in  case of  Occupied Jammu & Kashmir State in 1948  & 1957.
 Thus it is demanded that the following amendments be proposed and recommended by the Federation of Pakistan/ Apex Constitutional Reforms Committee and implemented accordingly by tabling the same before the Parliament on emergency footings:
i.  Amendment in Article 1 (2) to include Gilgit Baltistan in the territories of Pakistan till decision of Kashmir Dispute.
ii. An additional Article 257-A be inserted in the Constitution by giving the Gilgit Baltistan a special Status as “Provisional Unit”  having powers to legislate all subjects except Defense, Foreign Affairs, Communication, Finance & Currency being the Federal Subjects on the patron of Indian Occupied J&K given under Article 370 of Indian Constitution to give GB full representation in the Parliament & other constitutional forums in addition to  having its own Constitution framing and passing by their next elected Constituent Assembly .
iii. Amendments in Articles 41, 51, 59, 175, by giving GB due representation in the National Assembly , Senate & Supreme Court of Pakistan
iv. Due representation in the CCI, NEC, NFC, ERSA etc like institutions and rights over Water and Hydro-electric power.
v.   Amendments in Article 175 of Part VII Chapter I to extend jurisdiction of Supreme Court of Pakistan to Gilgit Baltistan.
2.  The Ministry of K & GB Islamabad, having exclusive powers, be directed to make the following amendments in the GB (Empowerment & Self Governance) Order 2009 for onward tabling the same before the Gilgit Baltistan Legislative Assembly for endorsement and enactment as GB Governance Act 2015 till formulation of  Constitution of Gilgit Baltistan:
i. A provision in the Order be inserted declaring the next elections in Gilgit Baltistanshall be held for electing a “Constituent Assembly” .
ii. Revival of State Subject Rules to protect property & citizenship rights of the people of GB be ensured.
iii. Powers to make any further amendments in the Order/Act be given to the elected Gilgit Baltistan Legislative Assembly.
iv. The subjects under Schedule III of Order 2009 & all other subjects covered under Concurrent List & Federal List of the Constitution of I. R of Pakistan be given under the purview of GB Legislative Assembly.
v. The local representation in the Gilgit Baltistan Council must be   100%   having its own elected chairman & deputy chairman having head quarters at Gilgit.
vi. The Role and Status of GB Council should be brought at par with the Legislative Kashmir Council of J & K having powers to endorse Bills passed by the Assembly.
vii.             The Revenue generating subjects of Hydropower, Minerals, Forest & Tourism be inserted in the Legislative List of GBLA.
viii. The Fifth Schedule of Governance Order 2009 heading Vacancy Sharing Formula be removed.
ix. Instead of GB Council, the Chief Minister be consulted during posting of IGP and Chief Secretary from Federation.
x. The nomenclature of the Present Superior Courts  & Judges in Gilgit Baltistan be changed into GB Supreme Court & GB High Court and Chief Judge & Judges be declared as  Chief Justice & Justice subsequently.
xi. The number of Judges in GB Apex Court be increased to 05 and in GB Chief Court up to 07.
xii. The appointment of judges in the Apex Courts must be brought at par with the system prevailing in Pakistan by constituting Judicial Commission having representation of GB Bar Council with a mandatory provision to get meaning full consultation of the concerned Chief Justice before making any appointment.

xiii. Amendment be made on the patron of Constitution of IRP & AJK Interim Constitution Act 1974 in respect of appointment of judges  among the  “Residents of Gilgit Baltistan” only.

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