BREAKING: AJK premier against implementing Supreme Court verdict on G-B

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ISLAMABAD – Azad Jammu and Kashmir (AJK) Prime Minister Raja Farooq Haider on Tuesday called upon Islamabad not to implement the January 17 judgment of the Supreme Court on governance of Gilgit-Baltistan (GB) in view of its “likely adverse impact”.

“We call upon the Government of Pakistan not to implement the decision of [the apex court] on Gilgit-Baltistan,” he said in a statement. “Instead, the recommendations prepared by the committees in the past should be put into effect.”

On Jan 17, the SC had accorded approval to a freshly proposed presidential order enshrining the framework for GB’s governance, asking the president to promulgate the order on the advice of the federal government in any case within a fortnight.

The judgment — authored by the then chief justice Saqib Nisar — said: “No amendment shall be made to the Order as so promulgated except in terms of the procedure provided in Article 124 of the same, nor shall it be repealed or substituted, without the instrument amending, repealing or substituting (as the case may be) the same being placed before this court by the federation through an application that will be treated as a petition under Article 184(3) of the Constitution.”

The AJK premier was of the view that the judgment had virtually rendered the GB Legislative Assembly a “worthless institution”.

He said the entire political leadership in AJK was unanimous in its opinion and stands by the view that the GB Legislative Assembly should be unconditionally empowered in all internal affairs.

“Except for defence, security, currency and telecommunications, the powers to pass legislation on all other affairs should be vested in and returned to the Legislative Assembly of [GB],” Haider said.

According to him, the apex court verdict had multiplied the legal and constitutional complexities about the status, authority, and powers of the region and its legislature.

“On one hand, the judgment acknowledges Gilgit-Baltistan as part of the state of Jammu and Kashmir but on the other hand it makes it mandatory for the federation to move the apex court under Article 184(3) of the Constitution for any amendment [in the proposed presidential order],” he said.

The premier sought to make it clear that the people of AJK fully supported complete constitutional rights of their brethren inhabiting GB.

“Since it’s a highly important and sensitive matter, the judgment can [adversely] affect the position of the Government of Pakistan,” he said, adding that all political parties, the government and the people of AJK were “on the same page” in this regard. — Courtesy Dawn

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