Updated at 12:04 (EST) on June 21, 2018
Gilgit: The Gilgit-Baltistan Supreme Appellate Court has suspended The Government of Gilgit-Baltistan Order 2018.
In a short decision, announced by a two-member bench headed by Chief Judge Rana Shamim, the imposition of the controversial GB Order 2018 has been declared contrary to the law, because the highest court of the region had barred the government from promulgating any order, while a case pertaining to the previous order (Empowerment Order 2009) was being heard.
The Supreme Appellate Court had also issued a stay order against implementation of any order/reforms until the hearing of the case filed by Saeed Afzal, a member of the Gilgit-Baltistan Council, was decided.
In complete disregard for the directions of the Supreme Appellate Court, the Prime Minister of Pakistan, who is also the de facto Chairman of the Gilgit-Baltistan Council, visited the region and announced promulgation of The Government of GB Order 2018, which was later ratified and signed into law by President Mamnoon Hussain, on the premier’s recommendation.
The Supreme Appellate Court’s judges, Justice Rana Shamim and Justice Javed Iqbal, expressed displeasure when they were informed that The Government of Gilgit-Baltistan Order 2019 had already been published in the Gazette of Pakistan.
Announcing suspension of the 2018 Order, the Chief Judge issued a notice citing contempt of court, and directing the federal government authorities – Prime Minister of Pakistan, as Chairman of GB Council, and Ministry of KA&GB – to appear in the court on 27th of June.
Suspension of the Government of GB Order 2018 has plunged the region into a legal and constitutional crisis.
PERKS AND PRIVILEGES OF JUDGES
The Government of Gilgit-Baltistan Order 2019 has limited the perks and privileges of the judges, by ending the provision of lifelong pension. This has also been cited as a reason in the court’s verdict for suspension of the said Order.
QUESTION OF AUTHORITY
Article 118 of the Government of Gilgit-Baltistan Order 2018 bars the Supreme Appellate Court and the Gilgit-Baltistan High Court from “bringing into question” the validity of the Order.
This has made people question, if the Supreme Appellate Court has the authority to suspend implementation of the 2018 Order.