Make part of Constitution or give separate constitution: G-B lawyers

Category: Gilgit-Baltistan
Published on Wednesday, 07 January 2015 16:01
OUTPOST

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BY OUR CORRESPONDENT

GILGIT: With the elections around the corner, lawyers in Gilgit – Baltistan [G-B] have asked federal government to either make G-B part of Pakistan’s constitution or give the region a separate constitution.

“This is the right time to grant us a constitution and redress the decades- long sense of deprivation,” G-B Bar Council vice president Shehbaz Khan said on Wednesday.

“This current governance order 2009 will not be acceptable for us anymore,” he told Outpost, referring to the G-B empowerment and self governance order 2009 which was introduced by the former government of Pakistan Peoples Party in 2009.

The lawyers’ stance came at a time G-B is preparing for elections this year. An interim government has already been formed after PPP government completed its five-year term in December with a mandate to hold elections within 90 days. 

Instead of introducing ceremonial changes in the governance order 2009, the federal government should make arrangements to conduct elections for a Constituent assembly, Khan said.

The G-B assembly that gave way for the caretaker setup in December was a legislative assembly that had replaced the earlier Legislative Council in 2009. But constitutional experts believed there was a little difference between the two as for as powers are concerned.

The vice president Bar Council argued the elections for a constituent assembly can be made possible if it is done under article 258 of constitution of Pakistan through a presidential order.

“It is in the interest of Pakistan and G-B.”

Khan said though G-B wasn’t a direct party to Kashmir issue, yet the people of it suffered the most constitutionally over the past six decades. He said both Azad Kashmir and occupied Kashmir had constitutions to govern the systems. “The region of G-B isn’t at par with Azad Kashmir or the occupied Kashmir despite the fact that it isn’t a direct party to the conflict.”