Amjad Hussain Advocate
Member Gilgit-Baltistan Council
Supreme court of Pakistan is enjoying popularity about the taking of suo-moto judicial notices regarding the injustices taking place in the society and inequities with the communities in Pakistan.
The 1.5 million people of GB are looking for intervention of the apex court of the country about the behavior of central government and policy of bulldozing the provisions of the constitution and democratic norms.
The failure of supreme court to take judicial notice regarding the violations of the provisions of constitution by the federal government for getting desired results in the upcoming general elections of GB, will affect the sanctity,of the apex court.
Supreme court being the guardian of the constitution should take judicial notice regarding controversial appointments and rolling back of limited autonomy of GB.
The preamble of the constitution guaranteed fundamental rights including equality, of status, of opportunity and before law social economic and political justice and freedom of thoughts, expression,belief, faith etc
The constitution of Pakistan is not only a social contract between the provinces only but it is a trust deed, which binds people of Pakistan, society and the state.
The honest commitment to the goals set out in the constitution would ensure promotion of nationhood in the country.
The government is bound to work with in its limits proscribed by the constitution and the law.
It is historical fact that two princely states of GB, Hunza and Nagar through rulers acceded their respective territories with Pakistan back in the year 1947 with the father of nation Qaid Azam Mohammed Ali Jinmah, who accepted the accession as governor General of Pakistan.
Later on the the people of District Diamer also executed an agreement with the government of Pakistan acceding the territory of Diamer with Pakistan.
It is pertinent to mention here that the territories of GB as a whole are neither undisputed nor could be termed as part of Jammu and Kashmir state.
Two princely states Hunza, Nagar, four political districts of kohi Ghizar, and Diamir, Darail, Tangir are undisputed parts they never remained under Jammu and Kashmir suzerainty according to British archaeological record.
Whereas the remaining parts of GB,i.e Gilgit, astore, skardu, ghanchi remained under suzerainty of Jammu and Kashmir till 1947, but on 1st November 1947 the people of GB liberated themselves from Doghra rule and formed independent government thereafter acceded GB with Pakistan through the president of state of GB.
That despite having valid accession with the father of the nation Qaid Azam Mohammed Ali Jinnah almost 67 ,years lapsed the people of GB haven’t been recognized as citizens of Pakistan rather the 1.5 million people have been defrauded on the pretext of kashmir issue.
In the year 2009 the ppp led government introduced GB empowerment and self governance order whereby provincial powers to some extent were delegated to the people of GB, without giving representation in the mainstream national forums.
Later on 18th amendment was introduced in the constitution which completely restructured the relationship of units with the federation and delegated more powers, provincial autonomy, ownership and authority over the natural resources to the provinces despite enhancing the financial shares of the units.
The provincial autonomy of the provinces have been protected under 18th amendment, the people of the provinces were given authority to be govern by their own chosen representatives, which is the essence of the democracy and the constitution of Pakistan.
Under the provisions of constitution and preamble,the state is duty bound for equal treatment with the units, but unfortunately the people of GB have deliberately been kept outside the domain of the constitution of Pakistan thereby the autonomy, equality of status, and of opportunities guaranteed under the constitution were practically denied to people of GB.
The limited autonomy of the orphaned unit of Pakistan were rolled back,during the last three months by introducing unilateral amendments in legal framework of GB.
Government of Pakistan is bound to abide by the provisions of constitution of Pakistan and GB empowerment order being subordinate regulation can not have preference over constitution.
Article 143 of the constitution provides that if there is any contradictory provision between federal and provincial legislation provisions of the constitution being the supreme law of the country had to be prevailed, but unfortunately no body has bothered the mandatory provisions article 101(2) & 103 of the constitution while making appointment of the Minister for kashmir affairs as governor for GB.
Article 101(2) prohibits appointment of non voter,non resident person to portfolio of governor of the province, where as article 103 of the constitution says that if a member of parliament is appointed as governor his seat in parliament shall become vacant on the day he enters upon his office
Minister Kashmir affairs Birjis Tahir without resigning from membership of national assembly is holding dual office by violating the article 103 of the constitution of Pakistan.
Why 1.5 million people of GB have been declared disqualified, incompetent, ineligible, for the post of governor which was the unalienable right of the of region.
Although GB empowerment order doesn’t prohibits appointment of non resident of GB as governor but article 20 of the empowerment order 2009 is a contradictory provision with the article 101(2) of the constitution of Pakistan.
Article 95 of GB empowerment order and article 143 of the constitution of Pakistan clearly states that in case of contradictory provisions federal legislation shall prevail and provision of provincial legislation shall be void.
The PMLn government in order to get desired results violated all the norms and the provisions of the supreme law of the land.
The decision of the appointment of Minister Kashmir affairs is equivalent to declared 1.5 million people of GB disqualified incompetent ineligible to become governor for GB.
There is no prohibitory provision in the constitution of Pakistan for giving the democratic rights and provincial autonomy on pattern of 18th amendment to the people of GB.
The 21st amendment of the constitution of Pakistan has been extended in GB without any hesitation even by violating the democratic norms by the prime Minister of Pakistan without taking the highest legislative forum GB council into confidence.
The natural resources, wealth, potentials and the geographical importance the GB have always been considered undisputed. pak China economic corridor project mostly passing through GB, and for construction of Diamer Basha dame project the GB hasn’t bn considered disputed territory.Taxes are being collected from GB by declaring it undisputed part of Pakistan even imposed incompetently by the parliament of Pakistan
but the 1.5 million people of GB have been considered disputed for availing fundamental, democratic, constitutional rights, the provincial autonomy, the right of self governance, the right of ownership over resources, the extension of the benefits of 18th amendments , the protection of articles101(2), and the authority of the provincial government guaranteed under article 167 of the constitution, representation, in council of common interest, national finance commission, sovereign authority of signing MOU and borrowing debt, authority for utilization of natural resources for the warfare of people, have always been denied without any legal foundation just on pretext that GB is disputed territory.
The historical facts hadn’t been accepted by the Pakistani ruling class, rather taken GB as granted Which had given rise serious questions in the minds of young educated class of Gilgit Baltistan.
Whether fundamental, political, democratic, of the people, and the rights of ownership over the land as well as natural resources of the region, the financial rights protected by the constitution of Pakistan can be refused to the people on the ground hailing from disputed territory, the obvious answer will be no but people of GB have been constitutional rights and protections on sole ground of hailing from so called disputed territory.
The people of GB are feeling narratives less voice less because of the reasons that nobody in this is ready to listen the problems of the farthest and smallest unit of Pakistan, the attitude of willful ignorance will ultimately result GB the next Baluchistan for Pakistan.
The chief justice of Pakistan and chief election commissioner Pakistan are requested to take suo moto judicial notice against the controversial appointmentss and for the fundamental democratic constitutional rights of 1.5 million people of Gilgit Baltistan the parent less region.
The contributor is a prominent lawyer and a member of the Gilgit-Baltistan Council.