Amjad Hussain Nazar
The Gigit Baltistan Empowerment and Self Governance Order 2009 was promulgated by the President of Pakistan under article 258 of the constitution of Pakistan, by exercising powers so vested on him. Through this ordinance GB has been given provincial status and authority over the provincial subjects without giving representation in Senate and National Assembly of Pakistan.
The provisions of GB empowerment order and of the constitution of Pakistan before introduction of 18th amendment were in conformity with each other. Later on, the 18th amendment was introduced in the constitution of Pakistan by delegating more powers and authority from center to the provinces of Pakistan, despite imposing restrictions on the federal government in order to ensure autonomy of province.
That Gilgit Baltistan is part of Pakistan and Government of Pakistan is bound to exercise powers in conformity with the constitution of Pakistan all over Pakistan including GB.
After 18th amendment some provisions of the empowerment order 2009 becomes void being inconsistent with the relevant provisions of the constitution of Pakistan.
GB empowerment and self governance order is an executive order issued by the president in exercising constitutional authority. Therefore GB empowerment order can’t be given preference over the provisions of the constitution of Pakistan.The article 95 of GB empowerment order and article 143 of the constitution of Pakistan provides that in case of repugnance between the federal and provincial laws, the federal law shall be given preference and law for the GB up to the extent of repugnancy shall be void.
Article 103(2) of the constitution says that if a member of parliament is appointed as governor, his seat in the parliament shall become vacant on the day he enters his office. Whereas article 101(2) says the no person can be appointed as governor unless he is resident and registered voter of the province concerned. Admittedly Mohammed Birjis Tahir is a Member of the National Assembly, and he is neither registered voter nor a resident of GB.
Article 92 proviso 2 of the constitution says that total strength of cabinet shall not exceed eleven percent of the total membership of assembly. Whereas Prime Minister of Pakistan by violating the provision of constitution appointed 12 members care taker cabinet GB over 33 Members Assembly and appointed the sitting GM of a government-owned co-operative bank and a public servant as the caretaker CM. The caretaker CM and Governor GB both are holding dual offices in violation of law.
That the honourable President and Prime Minister of Pakistan have taken oath under the third schedule of the constitution of Pakistan that they will discharge duties and perform functions in accordance with the constitution of Pakistan but while making appointment to the portfolio of governor GB both of them violated the mandatory provisions of the constitution of Pakistan.
That on 12 February 2015 the President of Pakistan by violating his oath and the provisions of the constitution of Pakistan introduced amendment by inserting article 20(AA) in the GB empowerment order by issuing S.R.O 125(1)2015 as under,
Notwithstanding anything contained in this order, the president may appoint the federal Minister Kashmir Affairs and Gilgit-Baltistan as the ex-officio Governor of Gilgit-Baltistan
The above SRO issued by the president of Pakistan for Gilgit-Baltistan is inconsistent and contradictory with the provision of article 101(2) and 103 of the constitution of Pakistan.
That during the month of February the president of Pakistan appointed Mohammed Birjis Tahir, Member National Assembly and Minister Kashmir Affairs & GB Affairs, a non registered voter and non-resident of GB, as governor for GB, by violating article 101(2) of the constitution of Pakistan, who took oath on 16 February 2015 as governor for GB thereby entered upon the office of governor GB.
That under article 103(2) of the constitution of Pakistan says that if a member of parliament is appointed as Governor, his seat in the parliament shall becomes vacant on the day he enters upon his office. Nevertheless, Mr Mohammed Birjis Tahir despite taking oath of the governor for GB is still attending the sessions of the National Assembly and acting as Minister for Kashmir Affairs and GB Affairs in gross violation of article 103(2) of the constitution of Pakistan .
That under article 103(2) the simple word governor has used and governor of the province hasn’t been used by the legislature. Therefore the Membership in National Assembly of Mohammed Birjis Tahir after being appointed as governor GB and after taking oath of the office of Governor GB, has become vacant from 16 February, and he has ceased to be Member of National Assembly from the day he entered into the office of the governor for GB.
That the article 103 (2) of the constitution emphasized upon the non-political status of a Governor by stating that even if the candidate for the post of Governor was an elected member of parliament before entering upon the office of Governor he had to vacate such membership and further had to take oath of the office.
That the President ,Prime Minister and Minister for Kashmir Affairs, care taker CM, GB had violated the provisions of the constitution of Pakistan in order to get desired results in the upcoming general elections of GB provincial Assembly .
If GB is part of Pakistan, then the amendment in empowerment order repugnant to the constitution of Pakistan and ultra varies the appointment of the Governor GB with the article 101(2) of the constitution of Pakistan and holding of dual office by Governor and care taker CM GB should be declared null and void by the Supreme court of Pakistan. Otherwise chief election commissioner Pakistan should declare Membership of Mohammed Birjis Tahir from National Assembly vacant from the day he enters in to the office of Governor GB under article 103(2) of the constitution and announce by election from the constituency.
The nutshell is that Islamabad has taken GB for granted and people have been declared slaves. The demand for implementation on the constitutional provisions in GB has been declared an offence of high treason. The people of GB are being compelled to accept the prevalence of jungle rule and controversial appointments made by the government over the portfolios of Governor, caretaker CM and the cabinet.
The ruling party has appointed a political Governor by giving political assignments to install PML(n) government in GB by hook or by crook, who has already started threatening the bureaucracy and other political workers to give walkover in favor of the candidates of his party. He has also prepared a list of bureaucrats for their immediate transfer from GB who are refusing to become part of the plan of rigging. The jungle rule in GB may be helpful to PML(n) but it will be harmful to the interest of state.
The contributor is a member of the Gilgit-Baltistan Coucil.