Govt panel proposes amendments in G-B order, SC told

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ISLAMABAD – A high level governmental committee has recommended changes in ‘The Government of Gilgit-Baltistan Order, 2018’ for providing all fundamental rights to the people of the northern areas which have a special status due to their being regarded as part of disputed Himalayan valley of Kashmir.

A seven-judge bench led by Chief Justice of Pakistan (CJP) Mian Saqib Nisar was told this on Monday as it resumed hearing of a case related to giving constitutional status to Gilgit-Baltistan (G-B).

Attorney General for Pakistan (AGP) Anwar Mansoor Khan submitting the committee’s recommendations said the same recommendations would be sent to the federal cabinet. The bench asked all the stakeholders including the AGP to finalise draft of the amendments in relevant laws.

It will take up the matter once again on Friday. The committee has recommended that the G-B be given status of a provisional province, till the final settlement of the Jammu and Kashmir dispute and implementation of the UN resolutions on Kashmir. However, a constitutional amendment would be required for implementing this recommendation.

The federal government would need to weigh in the political options and thereafter also see whether it would be able to secure the votes required for amending the Constitution.

The committee also proposed that in case of any constitutional amendment giving the G-B the status of a province, some groundwork may be undertaken to take the concerned stakeholders into confidence and explain it to them that such decision will not have any negative effect on the Kashmir cause.

SC tells govt to decide about G-B status

However, if giving of a provisional special status of the province is not possible where the federal government feels that such may have adverse political overtone on the just Kashmir cause then this move might for the time being be deferred

The committee has also proposed that if it is decided that such amendments in the Constitution would take time or that it is not possible for the time being to go ahead with the amendments, appropriate amendments be made in ‘The Government of Gilgit-Baltistan Order, 2018’ in the manner that all fundamental rights as are provided by the Constitution be given to the people of Gilgit-Baltistan.

The committee says there was also concern that the word ‘order’ may be reconsidered because of the sensitivities of the people of the G-B. It is therefore proposed that the name be changed to ‘The Gilgit Baltistan Governance Reforms, 2018’.

It is also recommended that the constitutional, legislative and executive status of the G-B Council as provided by the G-B Empowerment and Governance Order 2009 be restored subject to the recommendations of the committee, led by Sartaj Aziz.’

The committee proposes that the consolidated fund of the G-B Council be restored. The status terms and condition of the appointment of the judges be modified and brought to the original provision as contained in the G-B Order, 2009, to ensure the independence of judiciary.

It proposes that the process of appointment of judges should be the same as provided by the G-B Order, 2009. All those recommendations of Sartaj Aziz Report that were not incorporated should also be incorporated through the government of G-B Order, 2009/executive notifications. Express Tribune

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