Sat. Nov 28th, 2020

Lawyers condemn constitutional deprivations of Gilgit-Baltistan

Press Release

Gilgit, March 17: Representatives of various lawyer bodies met today in Gilgit to discuss the constitutional issues being faced by Gilgit-Baltistan.. 

Participants of the meeting regretted and showed great disappointment on the   66 year’s continuous deprivation of the people of Gilgit Baltistan from their fundamental right to govern themselves through their chosen representatives guaranteed under a “Constitution” since independence and  keeping the area under remote controlled Colonial Governing System through issuance of Executive Orders by the Ministry of K A & GB Islamabad.

justiceThe meeting termed this policy of Federation of Pakistan as not only gross violation of decision & directions of the Honorable Supreme Court of Pakistan given on 28th May, 1999 in the case titled Aljehad Trust etc. Versus Federation of Pakistan Etc. (1999 SCMR 1379) but also a negation to United Nation’s International Charter of Human Rights due to discrimination with the people of GB and violation of UNCIP Resolutions on Kashmir as well, which provides commitment of Pakistan & India to give the parties to issue, including Gilgit Baltistan, a constitutional local authority till final settlement of Kashmir Dispute.

The meeting showed deep concern that apart from the people of Gilgit Baltistan, even the highest Apex Courts of GB Supreme Appellate Court & GB Chief Court are being treated as second grade institutions as the Ministry of KA & GB Islamabad has been refusing even to rename the apex courts as GB Supreme Court and GB High Court so far despite GB Bar Association’s utmost efforts.

Lawyers from the Gilgit Baltistan Supreme Appellate Court Bar Association, GB High Court Bar Association,  Baltistan Circuit High Court Bar Association,  Bar Associations of Gilgit District, Skardu District, Diamer District, Ghizar District, Ghanchae District, Astore District &  Hunza Nagar District were present at the meeting which was co-chaired by Shehbaz Khan Advocate President GB Supreme Appellate Court Bar Association and Mr. Basharat Ali Advocate President GB High Court Bar Association.

The meeting also discussed in detail on the various out standing issues of undefined constitutional status of Gilgit Baltistan, matters pertaining to judiciary and the legal fraternity.

It was noted with deep concern about the bitter fact of denial of constitutional rights to self liberated Gilgit Baltistan in the name of Kashmir dispute by making it a sacrifice goat till date but the constitutional & social rights enjoyed by the actual disputed parts of Kashmir conflict Indian occupied J & K since 1949 and Pakistan liberated AJK since 1974 makes the minds of GB people more frustrated. In pursuance of UNCIP resolutions, the Indian Government has already given all kinds of constitutional & social rights to the people of Indian held Jammu & Kashmir by providing them representation in the Indian Parliament, Central Government and all federal constitutional institutions, in addition to declaring the Jammu & Kashmir as a Special Constitutional State by inserting Article 370 in the Indian Constitution in 1949. Later on, the people of Jammu & Kashmir got further protected their all rights guaranteed under Constitution of Jammu & Kashmir 1957 as well passed by their chosen representatives  of J & K Constituent Assembly.

The people of Azad Kashmir are also enjoying their fundamental rights guaranteed under an Act known as Interim Constitution Act 1974 though not a constitution but enjoying surely a better status than those of the people of Gilgit Baltistan. Unfortunately even in 2014, the people of GB are not having those constitutional and social rights which are enjoyed by the people of Indian Held J & K since 1949 and AJK since 1974.

The people of Azad Kashmir are also enjoying their fundamental rights guaranteed under an Act known as Interim Constitution Act 1974 though not a constitution but enjoying surely a better status than those of the people of Gilgit Baltistan. Unfortunately even in 2014, the people of GB are not having those constitutional and social rights which are enjoyed by the people of Indian Held J & K since 1949 and AJK since 1974.

 The meeting demanded Government of Pakistan to take serious notice of the situation & its effects on the minds of the people of GB and also to keep in mind about the fast socio political changes  prevailing in the entire region as a result of  Great Game being played around Pakistan. The meeting emphasized the GOP to realize Pakistan’s strategical & economical interest in the bordering Region of Gilgit Baltistan and also to keep in mind the probable results of prolong, continuous deprivation and willful denial of constitutional rights to two million human beings of Gilgit Baltistan since 1st November 1947.  Moreover, the meeting took serious notice of continuation of policy of “divide and rule” and factually govern the area through bureaucratic monarchy, resulting tremendous frustration in the area up to its maximum level which will surely be against the interests of Pakistan in this sensitive region if not resolved at the earliest. 

Thus the  meeting demanded Federation of Pakistan to take serious decisions on this issue with out further delay in the light of Declaration of GB Lawyers Conference held on 01st November, 2013 by giving the people of GB right to have an access to  “independent judiciary” and a governing system through their chosen representatives Guaranteed under  a CONSTITUTION either by giving:

  1. 5th Constitutional Province of Pakistan either temporarily or permanently, or
  2. AJK Like Parliamentary Form of Government or J & K  like Governing System, or
  3. Conditional amalgamation with AJK guaranteed under a constitution

The meeting categorically rejected any kind of elections to be held under the Executive Order of GB (Empowerment & Self Governance) Order 2009 by making some cosmetic changes and amendments in it to give the people of GB a loly pop but keep remaining the actual powers with the Ministry of KA & GB Islamabad either itself or in the name of GB Council which infact is second name of KA & GB Ministry.

The Meeting decided to hold an All Parties Conference in this regard at a convenient date in near future to get support of political parties and other stake holders as well.

The meeting further decided to make arrangements for filing of petition before the Honorable Supreme Court of Pakistan for immediate implementation of Aljehad Trust Vs Federation of Pakistan case.

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