Gilgit-Baltistan seeks legal status alike Azad Jammu & Kashmir

Gilgit-Baltistan seeks legal status alike Azad Jammu & Kashmir

he legislative assembly of Gilgit-Baltistan witnessed a heated debate over the ambiguous status of the territory, sparking a new discussion in the political circles of the country.

Assertive legislators proposed a couple of options including a setup similar to the one given to Azad Jammu & Kashmir (AJK) or provide legal cover for the Gilgit-Baltistan Self Governance & Empowerment Ordinance 2009.

The discussion started in the legislative assembly after a petition filed by a local native, Dr Ghulam Abbas, in the Supreme Court over the ambiguous constitutional status of Gilgit-Baltistan.

The apex court, during the first-day hearing asked the Attorney General (AG) to explain under which law was the Self Governance Order 2009 exercised? Upon which, the AG answered that the president of Pakistan, on behalf of the federal government, had issued the Self Governance Order 2009 for the region that has no representation in parliament due to its disputed status.

Didar Ali, an independent lawmaker of the GB assembly observed, “The setup given to the region needs to be supported by a legal cover just like in AJK”.

In the wake of the hearing on the petition filed in the Supreme Court, it has been learnt that the order through which the Gilgit-Baltistan Self Governance & Empowerment Ordinance 2009 has been enforced is liable to be repealed by any authority anytime, he added.  The legislator stated that they were concerned about the uncertain status of the region.

Another independent lawmaker, Nawaz Naji, termed the region a fake province that has no solid roots in the Constitution.

Rehmat Khaliq, a lawmaker of the Jamiat Ulema-e-Islam Fazl (JUI-F), while speaking point of order said that constitutionally Gilgit-Baltistan could not be given the status of Pakistan’s fifth province due to some international disputes. He, however, said that a package similar to the one given to AJK should be allocated to the region.

In the meantime, Gilgit-Baltistan Law Minister Wazir Shakil addressed the house, saying that the aforementioned ordinance was a presidential order that could not be abolished. Another legislator while responding to point claimed that Gilgit-Baltistan judiciary was independent and the government could not interfere in its matters.

Later, Chief Minister Gilgit-Baltistan Mehdi Shah asked the allied party legislators to convince their main leadership to raise their voice in parliament for a permanent status for the region.

News published in NewsPakistan