BY OUR CORRESPONDENT
GILGIT: Lawyers in Gilgit – Baltistan (G-B) on Sunday vow to resist any move aimed at curtailing powers of elected representatives in the proposed constitutional reforms for the region.
The federal government has formed a committee headed by national security advisor Sartaj Aziz to bring about reforms in G-B empowerment and self-rule order 2009, a presidential order that brought region’s status at par with a province.
“We will not accept a symbolic provincial status similar to the existing one,” Shehbaz Khan advocate, Vice Chairman G-B Bar Council told reporters in Gilgit.
The lawyer’s comments came at a time when Sartaj Aziz and his team are working on the reforms. The committee, also represented by chief minister Hafeezur Rahman, is expected to present the draft document to prime minister in a month.
Khan said the federal government should retain powers on defense, foreign affairs, communication, finance and currency. “The rest of the subjects should be given to the regional assembly.”
He said if G-B can’t be made firth constitutional province of the country for the reasons of Kashmir issue, it should be given the provisional constitutional status by inserting amendments in Article 1 (2) and other relevant articles and their clauses of the 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.
“The empowerment in real sense is right of the people of G-B as it voluntarily joined Pakistan after liberating the area in 1947.”
Last week, G-B government convened an ‘all party conference’ in Gilgit to seek in take all stakeholders on board. The conference was also attended by parties lacking representation in the assembly.
Khan said the reforms should pave way for G-B to have representation in all federal constitutional forums and institutions occupied Jammu and Kashmir enjoys in India.
“We will launch a legal battle across the country if the reforms aren’t genuine or short of peoples aspirations.”