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Days Before By-elections, GBLA-6 Candidates Attend “The Great Debate”

By-election candidates in the Hunza district of Gilgit-Baltistan attended “The Great Debate” to announce their mandate and answer questions during an event held in Karimabad.

Imran Ahmed Hunzai

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Hunza By-elections the great debate

Setting a new trend in the region, by-election candidates in district Hunza of Gilgit-Baltistan attended “The Great Debate” to announce their mandate and answer questions during an event held in Karimabad. Representatives of all participating parties attended the debate except Saleem Khan (PMLN), Aziz Ahmed (PTI) and Wazir Baig (PPP). The event was organized by Dewaako Media Services in collaboration with Karakoram Area Development Organization (KADO).

Important matters like China Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC), power issue in the region, jailed activists and status of Gilgit-Baltistan were discussed. The candidates shared their opinion on these matters and how they will come up with the solutions when the come to power.

About 26,000 voters will cast their vote to elect a leader on the GBLA-6 seat that was vacant after Mir Ghazanfar Ali Khan, who earlier won general elections, was appointed the Governor of Gilgit-Baltistan.

Dewaako Media Services and Karakoram Area Development Organization (KADO) had also arranged a similar event during general elections. The recorded video will be aired on Sujo Hunzo, a local channel available on cable TV across central and lower Hunza.

Imran Hunzai is a Digital Media Consultant and activist based in Islamabad, Pakistan. When free, he likes to travel, do photography and play Rabab. He also runs a HONY inspired blog called Humans of Hunza. Follow him of Twitter @ihunzai.

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Federation of Pakistan has no way but to implement Supreme Court directives

Justice Retired Muzaffar Ali

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Supreme Court's Decision about Gilgit-Baltistan

The constitutional status of Gilgit-Baltistan is as old as the Kashmir issue. The people of Gilgit-Baltistan liberated their motherland from the illegal occupation of Maharaja Regime. People constituted a local government in the region thereafter, newly created Muslim country Pakistan extended its de-facto jurisdiction over the region but again attached Gilgit-Baltistan to the Kashmir issue.

State of Jammu & Kashmir, ruled by Maharaja before the partition of Indo-Pak, divided into three parts main portion was captured by the Indian army which is still called occupied Kashmir. A small portion thereof was liberated by the Kashmiris with the help of tribal men, which is called Azad Jammu and Kashmir. The third is GB region which is also considered disputed under Security Council resolutions.

Since all the above mentioned three parts were claimed by both the countries, Pakistan claimed entire Jammu & Kashmir state to be its part as per partition agenda agreed upon by the parties while India claimed the Kashmir state as per so-called accession deed made between India and Maharaja Kashmir.

Kashmir issue prevented the two neighboring countries from friendly relations rather thrown them into wars against. That is what the situation became hurdled for both the countries to declare, the parts of Kashmir state in their de-facto control, to be their integral parts.

India gave a special status to occupied Kashmir under Article 370 of the Indian constitution while Pakistan also awarded special status to AJ&K through an Act of parliament. People of AJ&K have their own Constitution but unfortunately, Gilgit-Baltistan ruled by executive “Orders” imposed from time to time by the Federal Governments in Islamabad, despite a persistent protest against.

The Federal Governments deprived people of Gilgit-Baltistan from their fundamental and constitutional rights, as such there remained nothing but to invoke the jurisdiction of “Supreme Court of Pakistan” hence the issue was taken to Supreme Court and got a verdict from there with the directions to provide fundamental rights safeguarded by an independent Judiciary guaranteed by constitution even if needed to emend the continuation of Pakistan but the verdict given by august “Supreme Court” in well-known case “Al-Jihad Trust” was turned no ears by the Federation for decades.

Thereafter, many petitions under Article 184(3) were submitted before Supreme Court even the federation itself filed a petition before against an order passed by the Supreme Appellate Court GB whereby, “Executive order 2018” was suspended. The Supreme Court heard all the petitions about the constitutional status of Gilgit-Baltistan pending before, after getting legal assistance of learned Attorney General, counsel for petitioners and even getting the assistance of senior jurists as “amicus curiae”.

During pendency, a committee headed by learned Attorney General submitted a new “proposed order 2019” before august Supreme Court. The honorable Court with the assistance of all the jurists appeared in the case and honorable Attorney General once again visited through the proposed “order” modified and sanctioned it by annexing the same with the judgment announced on 17-01-2019 as part of it and directed forthwith promulgation of the same by the President of Pakistan on the advice of the Federal Government and in any case within a fortnight hereof;

The Federal Government, either on one or another pretext did not comply the mandatory directive of august Supreme Court and used delay tactics to abuse the process of law apparently submitting applications to get an extension of time to advice President of Pakistan to promulgate the attached order.

The honorable Supreme Court did not extend any further time on the application submitted before the Court and during the pendency of the application the Federal government again has taken a U-turn by filing another application to amend the “annexed order 2019”.

The situation jolted bar counsel and other bar associations in GB to resist mala fide move of the Federation and their representatives appeared before on the date of hearing.

The plain reading of the judgment, I have come to the conclusion that the federation cannot introduce an amendment to the “GB Order 2019” unless the same is promulgated by the President, thereafter to the Federation can introduce amendments within the ambit of the directive (II) of SC in its judgment. The amendment application submitted without first compliance of the directives issued by the Supreme Court amounts to contempt of court.

The situation, in this case, is parallel with that situation once has arisen in judicial history when PM Yousaf Raza Gillani using executive tricks impliedly refused to comply the directives issued by the august Supreme Court and had to face contempt of court and resultantly lost his premiership.

During proceedings on 22-05-2019 although the honorable judges (as reported in the newspapers) showed their annoyance through their remarks it seems honorable judges acted upon the principle of judicial restraint, otherwise the Federation might be taken for contempt of court.

In further proceedings, if the Federation insists its plea of the amendment and also requests for getting further time to send its advice to the president for the promulgation of the proposed order which is annexed to the judgment that the legal status may turn towards contempt of court.

The federation must understand that the honorable court has provided judicial imprimatur and permanence to the proposed “order” and restrained the executive from their whimsical interferences and awarded unassailable judicial protection to the people of Gilgit-Baltistan in the cited judgment.

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Raja Jalal Hussain Maqpoon swears in as the Governor of Gilgit-Baltistan

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Raja Jalal Hussain Maqpoon

Raja Jalal Hussain Maqpoon has sworn in as the 7th Governor of Gilgit-Baltistan. He was appointed by President of Pakistan Dr. Arif Alvi after the resignation of Mir Ghazanfar Ali Khan.

The former governor of Gilgit-Baltistan Mir Ghazanfar Ali Khan’s resignation was accepted by the President, which came a few days after a video scandal surfaced.

Raja Jalal Hussain Maqpoon

Chief Minister Gilgit-Baltistan Hafiz Hafeez Ur Rehman and Chief Justice Javed Iqbal during oath-taking ceremony of Raja Jalal Hussain Maqpoon as the new Governor of Gilgit-Baltistan at the Governor House in Gilgit

The caretaker Chief Justice of Supreme Appellate Court Gilgit-Baltistan Justice Javed Javed Iqbal took oath from the new Governor of Gilgit-Baltistan who hails from Skardu district in the Baltistan region.

Raja Jalal Hussain Maqpoon as the new Governor of Gilgit-Baltistan at the Governor House in Gilgit

Raja Jalal Hussain Maqpoon taking oath as the new Governor of Gilgit-Baltistan at the Governor House in Gilgit

The appointment letter was read by Chief Secretary Gilgit-Baltistan Babar Hayat Tarar.

The event held at Governor House in Gilgit was attended by Chief Minister Gilgit-Baltistan Hafiz Hafeez Ur Rehman, Pakistan Tehreek-i-Insaf (PTI) leaders, judges, civil servants and the public.

Raja Jalal Hussain Maqpoon has formerly served as the Chairman of Pakistan Tehreek-i-Insaf PTI Gilgit-Baltistan.

He had lost Gilgit-Baltistan Legislative Assembly elections from Skardu in 2015. His defeat came against Haji Akbar Khan Taban who won by just one vote.

According to the infamous GB Order 2018, the Governor of Gilgit-Baltistan has to be a local resident.

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