BY OUR CORRESPONDENT
GILGIT: Senior lawyer Shehbaz Khan advocate has suggested a road map to settle the longstanding Gilgit – Baltistan constitutional issue, as chief minister Hafeezur Rahman is set hold a meetings with Sartaj Aziz in Islamabad to determine the fate of the region.
Rahman is expect to meet national security advisor Sartaj Aziz next month too. Aziz is heading a committee formed by Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif to bring about reforms in G-B empowerment and self-rule order 2009, under which the region’s status has been brought at par with a province.
“Make this region a Provisional Constitutional Unit till the settlement of Kashmir dispute,” Khan advocate, Vice Chairman G-B Bar Council said on Thursday, a day after the lawyers bodies met in Gilgit and agreed on the proposal that contains various measures which would appease all segments of society in the region.
“And ensure G-B’s representation in all federal constitutional forums and institutions as has done by India for occupied Jammu and Kashmir in 1948 and 1957,” said Khan in his suggestion to the chief minister who held first meeting with Aziz on Thursday.
He said an amendment in Article 1 (2) will be required to include G-B in the territories of Pakistan and an additional Article 257-A in constitution will give G-B a status of “Provisional Unit”.
The insertion of the additional article will give G-B powers to legislate on subjects other than defense, foreign affairs, communication, finance and currency, said Khan, adding this will ensure G-B’s representation in the parliament and other constitutional forums and also pave way for the region to have its own constitution.
Moreover he said amendments in Articles 41, 51, 59, 175 will give G-B due representation in the National Assembly, Senate & Supreme Court of Pakistan.
He said the ministry of Kashmir affairs should be directed to make the amendments in G-B governance Order 2009 to make G-B assembly a constituent Assembly.
The lawyer hoped the steps would shut the mouth of Indian governments which time and again raised the issue of G-B’s constitutional status only to score points.