Gilgit, September 10: (PR) An Extra-Ordinary Meeting of Gilgit Baltistan Bar Council was held at Gilgit presided by Mr. Shehbaz Khan Advocate Vice Chairman. The meeting thoroughly discussed various issues and unanimously resolved on each point separately including the issue of “Constitutional Status of Gilgit Baltistan”.
The Meeting appreciated and lauded the sincere efforts of the Standing Committee of Senate on Human Rights for taking notice of Human Rights violation in GB with special reference to constitutional deprivation of the people of Gilgit Baltistan for the past several decades. Participants of the meeting thanked the Chairman, Afrasiab Khattak, and all members of the committee and showed their full support and assistance to the Senate Committee on the sensitive issue of denial of constitution rights to the people of Gilgit Baltistan since 67 years of liberation.
The participants of the emphasized that the Gilgit Baltistan is no doubt a Jugular Vein for Pakistan because of its geographical, strategical & economical importance, but the rulers of Pakistan have not bothered to realized this fact and that they have not been treating the people and the region accordingly by bringing at par with the other provinces or AJK or even Indian Occupied J & K in terms of constitutional & political rights. This, they said, is despite the fact that the UNCIP resolutions, to whom Pakistan is a “signatory” and is under obligation to give the people of Gilgit Baltistan a “Local Authority” as done in the cases of other parties to 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 UN’s International Charter of Human Rights but also a deviation from the UNCIP Resolution on Kashmir dispute as well as disobeying of the decision and directions of the Honorable Supreme Court of Pakistan given in 1999. ( 1999 SCMR 1379).
The 72000 Sq Km area, was liberated and acceded to Pakistan by the people of Gilgit-Baltistan themselves but surprisingly the area is still undefined and being treated as “a colony occupied and conquered by the Ministry of K &GB having exclusive right to rule through remote controlled governing system by framing and issuing Executive Orders in the shape of Frontier Crimes Regulation (FCR) , Legal Frame Work orders (LFO,s) & Governance Orders from time to time since.1947,
Participants of the meeting also said that the elected bodies of NA Advisory Council, NAs Council, NAs Legislative Assembly and now the GB Legislative Assembly have always been created from the embryo of above mentioned executive orders, and as a result the local representatives even could not get the powers to make any amendment in the previous or present Governance Orders.
They also said that the GB Council, in which GB is only symbolically represented, is based in Islamabad and it is also a meaningless institution, working as the fact of the Ministry of Kashmir Affairs and Gilgit-Baltistan, @safeguarding and catering interest of the Ministry not the people of GB”, they said.
They also said that Gilgit Baltistan has been made a sacrificial goat in the name of so called Kashmir Dispute with a malafide intention of keeping the area and the people under the clutches of bureaucratic system, depriving them of their basic fundamental rights.
The meeting pointed out that the current political and constitutional position of actual parties to Kashmir Dispute – AJK & Indian occupied J &K, is entirely different as they are enjoying all kinds of constitutional and political rights since long.
The AJK , which was liberated by the Pak Army with the help of Tribal Lashkar, is comparatively in a better position compared to GB, having an “Act” based governing system at least since 1969 & 1974 although not having a constitutional status thereto.
At the same time, the people of Indian occupied Jammu & Kashmir, have got special constitutional status and full representation in the Central Government under Article 370 of Indian Constitution since 1948, in addition to having their own Jammu & Kashmir Constitution 1957 passed by the Constituent Assembly in 1957.
The meeting regretted to note that due to continuous mishandling of “affairs” of Gilgit Baltistan, the situation here has become very fragile and alarming. The sense of deprivation has reached to its maximum level. The time has come that the Parliament , the Supreme Court , the Political Government & the Security Concerned Institutions of Pakistan should come forward without wastage of time and take serious notice of negative impacts in GB due to Ministry of K & GB Islamabad deeds since 67 years.
The people of Gilgit Baltistan are very much concern and aware of the historical 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 just 700 km. The people of GB have a right to question legitimacy of this act of Rulers 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 that whether giving 2000 sq km area of GB to China by the GOP affected the Kashmir 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 them selves through their chosen representatives guaranteed under a “constitution” under the domain of Local Authority as committed by GOP with UNCIP??
The meeting emphasized that further denial of political rights guaranteed under a “Constitution” to the people of Gilgit Baltistan will not be in the larger interest of I. R of Pakistan having crucial stratigical & economical interests in this sensitive region. They warned that the dream of making Pakistan an Economical Tiger of Asia through 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 declared that the GB Bar Council being highest legal fraternity represented statutory Body of GB and its concerned institutions of GB Supreme Appellate Court Bar Association & GB High Court Bar Association , being actual stake holders in this context, must be consulted while drafting and preparing any kind of proposal concerning legal and constitutional status of the area. Any proposal lacking input of above stake holders will not be accepted to the legal fraternity of GB.
However just to avoid delay in any expected improvement in this regard, , the meeting demanded GOP to take following concrete steps without further delay:
- The Governing System must be guaranteed under a Constitution:
The past practice of Governing GB through Executive Orders must be thrown away by giving the people of GB a governing system guaranteed under a constitution as directed by the Supreme Court of Pakistan. The patron of political governing system in Indian Occupied Jammu Kashmir prevailing since 1948 & 1957 is most suitable and viable in this regard as the same will not only cater stratigical interest of Pakistan in this region but also redress the prolong sense of deprivation of people of GB as well with out harming principal stand of Pakistan on Kashmir Issue if the following steps taken b:
- Declaring the next coming general elections in GB for holding “Constituent Assembly” and thereafter to draft, table and pass Constitution of GB accordingly.
- Making amendment in Constitution of Pakistan by the Pakistani Parliament giving the GB a “Special Status” & representation in the constitutional institutions of Federation “provisionally”.
- Conversion of GB Governance Order 2009 into an “ACT” after amendments
The following measures / amendments be inserted in the GB Governance Order 2009 in the shape of a Bill and to be tabled and passed before December 2014 by the present GB Legislative Assembly:
- A provision in the Act/Order be inserted declaring the forth coming elections in Gilgit Baltistan for a Constituent Assembly.
- Powers to make amendment in the Act/Order be given to GB Legislative Assembly.
- The GB Legislative Assembly be upgraded as GB Assembly
- The local representation in the Gilgit Baltistan Council must be 100% as prevails in Indian Occupied J & K Legislative Council .
- The Role and Status of GB Council should be brought at par with the Senate having head quarters at Gilgit as done in occupied J & K.
- The main revenue generating subjects of Minerals, Forest, Hydro power and Tourism must be under the domain of GB Assembly.
- The nomenclature of the Present Apex Courts & judges in Gilgit Baltistan be changed into GB Supreme Court & GB High Court and the Chief Justice & Justice subsequently
- The number of Judges in GB Supreme Appellate Court should be 05 and in GB High Court 07
- The system of appointment of judges in the Apex Courts must be brought at par with the system prevailing in Pakistan or AJK with a mandatory provision to get meaning full consultation of the concerned Chief Justice before making any appointment by the Executive.
- The Fifth Schedule of Governance Order 2009 heading Vacancy Sharing Formula be thrown away.
- Instead of GB Council, the Chief Minister be consulted during posting of IGP and Chief Secretary from Federation.