Verdict puts question mark on GB’s status, says retired AJK Judge

MIRPUR (AJK) The anti-terrorism court which has given a decision against the editor-in-chief of Jang Media Group Shakeelur Rehman and others does not have territorial jurisdiction as Gilgit-Baltistan is not constitutional part of Pakistan, claimed a former chief justice of Jammu and Kashmir High Court.

Talking to this correspondent, the retired chief justice said that the judgment had created a new controversy on the constitutional and legal status of GB. Justice (r) Abdul Majeed Mallick was commenting on the judgment made by Sessions Judge Raja Shehbaz of the Anti-Terrorist Court No1 in Gilgit convicting Mr Shakeelur Rehman, anchor Shaista Lodhi, Veena Malik, her spouse Assad Khatak and others in the case of a controversial morning show aired by GEO TV.

“Primarily GB is the historic and geographical part of Jammu & Kashmir state as accepted by Pakistan in the United Nations and its acknowledgement by the UN resolutions on Kashmir issue,” he said. “But on the account of delaying in the settlement of Kashmir problem through plebiscite in the light of the UN resolutions, it was deemed expedient by the government of Pakistan to give it a status under the Pakistan President’s Governance Ordinance, in 2009. Since then, Gilgit-Baltistan is administered through its elected council, chief minister and the governor.”

He said, “In view of the unsettled legal status, the sessions judge assumed that an alleged offense perpetrated to have been committed in Pakistan is triable by that court.” Mallick continued that the legal confusion had confounded the issue.

He said, “It is quite clear that legally, the court has no jurisdiction to lay its hands on such a matter which was not committed within the territorial limits of Gilgit-Baltistan. The matter has gained enough publicity on account of entertainment of the matter without jurisdiction and particularly recording grave conviction for an offense against the convicts without providing any opportunity of hearing and defense of alleged accused persons,” he said. “Nevertheless, the issue of judgment by the GB court shall have a serious affect on the legal and political relationship between GB and Pakistan.”

Courtesy: The Nation

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