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Gilgit-Baltistan Supreme Appellate Court Suspends GB Order 2018

The Supreme Appellate Court of Gilgit-Baltistan has suspended the newly-promulgated Gilgit-Baltistan Order 2018 following a petition by GB Council member Saeed Afzal.

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Gilgit-Baltistan Supreme Appellate Court Suspends GB Order 2018

The petition was filed in Supreme Appellate Court of Gilgit-Baltistan to declare the GB Order 2018 illegal. A demand of stay order was also made. According to sources, Saeed Afzal — a member of GB Council — had filed the petition in April under Article 61 of the GB Empowerment and Self-Governance Order 2009.

Gilgit-Baltistan Council is a constitutional body established in 2010 under Article 33 of Gilgit-Baltistan (Empowerment and Self Governance) Order, 2009. The Council had executive and legislative powers before being suspended by the new GB Order 2018.

 

Chief Judge GB Appellate Court Rana Muhammad Shamim

Chief Judge Gilgit-Baltistan Supreme Appellate Court Rana Muhammad Shamim

Saeed Afzal, the petitioner, is one of the members of GB Council that’s powers have been restricted in the GB Order 2018. The elected members of GB Council were to hold office until elections in 2020.

 

The Federal Government has promulgated GB Order 2018 despite a stay order from Rana Muhammad Shamim, the Chief Judge of Gilgit-Baltistan Supreme Appellate Court which was observed as a “violation of law” by the court.

In the latest hearing of the petition, a two-member bench of the Gilgit-Baltistan Supreme Appellate Court has issued a suspension of GB Order 2018. The bench comprised of Chief Judge GB Supreme Appellate Court Rana Muhammad Shamim and Justice Javed Ahmed.

The next hearing of the GB Order 2018 case is scheduled for July 26, 2018.

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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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Aga Khan Agency for Habitat Raises Awareness on National School Safety Day in Pakistan

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Photo: AKAH

To protect school children from natural disasters and other insecurities, the Aga Khan Agency for Habitat (AKAH) convened government education departments, academia, district disaster management authorities and the media in Gilgit-Baltistan, Chitral, Khyber Pakhtunkhwa, Sindh and Punjab.

Mr. Hafiz Noorullah, Education Development Officer, Chitral, said on a radio talk show:

“A lack of awareness and knowledge makes the disaster happen. So there is a need to have more and more information sharing through different media platforms and involvement of young people in interactive discussions to sensitize them on the topics of safety and security.”

Mr. Nawab Ali Khan, Chief Executive Officer, AKAH Pakistan said:

“In the 2005 earthquake, Pakistan lost around 20,000 children due to vulnerable structures and lack of awareness and preparedness, which cannot be repeated. We need our schools to be resilient and better prepared
for similar situations. We are thankful to our public and private-sector partners for joining hands with us to achieve this objective.”

For the last 20 years, AKAH has been designing and implementing programmes on Disaster Risk Reduction and Mitigation in some of Pakistan’s most vulnerable areas. More than 1,000 schools in disaster-prone areas have benefitted from the development of hazard and risk maps, school safety plans, provision of school safety kits, and awareness raising and capacity building of individuals.

School-level awareness raising sessions have been part of the work of the Aga Khan Agency since the Islamabad Conference on School Safety held in 2008. AKAH’s School Safety Programme will contribute towards the UN Office for Disaster Risk Reduction’s one million safe schools and hospitals global campaign, and contribute towards the achievement of Sustainable
Development Goals (SDGs) and the practical implementation of the Pakistan School Safety Framework.

For further information, please contact:
[email protected]

NOTES:
The Aga Khan Agency for Habitat (AKAH), which merges the capabilities of Focus Humanitarian Assistance, the Aga Khan Planning and Building Services, and the Aga Khan Development Network’s Disaster Risk Management Initiative focuses on preparing for both sudden and slow-onset disasters. AKAH works to ensure that people live in physical settings that are as safe as possible from the effects of natural disasters; that residents who do live in high- risk areas are able to cope with disasters in terms of preparedness and response; and that these settings provide access to social and financial services that lead to greater opportunity and a
better quality of life. Initially, priority areas of AKAH will include Afghanistan, Pakistan, Tajikistan, the Kyrgyz Republic, and India.

Read more about the agency at: http://www.akdn.org/our-agencies/aga-khan-agency-habitat

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