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Kashmiris and The Universal Declaration of Human Rights

Justice Retired Muzaffar Ali

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Kashmiris and The Universal Declaration of Human Rights

“The Universal Declaration of Human Rights” remains as relevant today as it was on the day in 1948, when it was proclaimed and adopted by the United Nations’ general assembly. A document that, for the first time, articulated the rights and the freedom for which every human being is equally and inalienably entitled. Its global nature is a yardstick by which we measure right and wrong.

The members of the United Nations are signatories to this document, which has an extraordinary vision to safeguard all human beings in this universe from discriminatory treatment by the states or otherwise. Either kingdoms or democracies but unfortunately, despite having such a golden document, there are dire illustrations that, even in most of the member states of united nations, the human beings are being subjugated to, against their will and wishes by the states but UNO discriminatorily ignores rather strengthens such violations of mighty states against the oppressed people within their domination. Kashmir and Palestine are the chronic and popular instances in this regard.

Kashmir is under the forceful occupation of India since 1947 but people in occupied Kashmir never ever surrendered to the atrocities of Indian governments from day 1 of their occupation. The Indian government, once in history, scared and could not control the struggle of people of Kashmir and to rescue herself went to UN, seeking its help in resolving the issue. The UN passed various resolutions, calling for holding a plebiscite in the state. The resolutions were accepted by India.

Prominent leaders of India also repeatedly promised to hold a plebiscite. However, they resiled from their promises with the passage of time, strengthening India’s control through atrocities extended by the Indian army, imposing black laws and their implementation. At this juncture, I really emotionally want to appreciate the tolerance and persistent struggle of Kashmiris in held Kashmir. They really do not bow their heads; India failed to overcome the indigenous struggle and protest of Kashmiris against the pandemonium and forceful occupation of their motherland. They are sacrificing their lives; they are standing in front of Indian army to face their bullet.

Kashmiris always launch their protest and invite the attention of international community, particularly, those powers who are signatories to UDHR, to take notice of violations and cruelties extended by the Indian army against the armless Kashmiris. The stunning, international community, UNO and international powerful states have forgotten the golden document of the universal declaration of human rights and have turned deaf and dumb towards severe human issues in occupied Kashmir, but the Kashmiris never abandoned and their struggle is in progress day by day.

They didn’t lose their hearts that is why they have fixed 5th February a day of their solidarity all over the world to jolt the international community’s conscience to rise against Indian atrocities.

Worth mentioning here that, the Kashmir issue is not only the oldest issue on the agenda of United Nations but is also an unfinished agenda of the partition of the subcontinent. As per the partition plan, it was up to the will of the population of princely states to preferably join either India or Pakistan but in case of Kashmir, Indian army, in violation of agenda, intruded into Kashmir against the will of Kashmiris therefore, they stood up against Indian army, took up arms, liberated some areas of the state and established an “Azad government of Jammu and Kashmir”.

The Azad government has its interim constitution and enjoys a system of their own, joining the struggle for the liberation of their motherland remaining in forceful occupation of India joining hand with the indigenous struggle of people in occupied Kashmir through peaceful struggle and agitations for awakening the conscience of international community.

Gilgit-Baltistan, a region surrounded by lofty mountains, having big deposits of glaciers, bonded to China from one side touching middle south states crossing a small strip of Afghanistan, adjacent with occupied Kashmir from another side. The region remained aloof from the outside world, having its own small states headed by local chieftains up to the last decade of the 18th century. The region was invaded by Maharaja Forces.

There were 2 or 3 mighty wars between local forces and Maharaja Troops but lastly, the year 1 st November 1948. It was the time of partition of United India; the people took arms, liberated their motherland from the occupation of Maharaja government with the zeal to merge the region with Pakistan and acceded to newly born state. Pakistan took the sovereign authority of the region but attached the area with Kashmir issue as per prevailing situation of that time.

The overwhelming native population living there in Gilgit-Baltistan is not Kashmiri by caste. Despite, the region is 3 rd part of Kashmir issue as such the people therein are deprived of their constitutional status in Pakistan since their independence while the people of Gilgit-Baltistan are emotionally Pakistanis and persistently demand their constitutional status. The educated youth of the region is deeply frustrated
about their fundamental rights. The government needs to solve this issue too.

However, the people of Gilgit-Baltistan are with the people of held Kashmir from the core of their heart. They support Kashmiri struggle for their liberation from Indian occupation, even, in this regard the people of Gilgit-Baltistan have sacrificed their lives all wars dragged Pakistan by India,
particularly, their sacrifices in Kargil war and Siachin aggression by India are unforgettable and part of history.

Justice Retired Muzaffar Ali has served as the former judge of the Supreme Appellate Court of Gilgit-Baltistan. After his retirement, he regularly writes about the legal aspects of the constitutional rights of Gilgit-Baltistan.

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In Pictures: His Highness Aga Khan’s First Visit to Hunza in 1960

Imran Ahmed Hunzai

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Aga Khan in Hunza 1960
Photos: Abdul M. Ismaily

On this day in 1960, His Highness Prince Karim Aga Khan made his historic first visits to Hunza and laid down the foundation of what we know as a model valley today. Since then, Hunza has come a long way and developed into a model valley for many. Every year on 23rd October, Ismailis of Hunza Valley celebrate this day as “Salgirah” to commemorate Aga Khan’s visit to Hunza for the first time.

During the first visit of His Highness Aga Khan to Hunza, photographer Abdul M. Ismaily took numerous photos that remained unseen for decades. However, in 2016, Simerg Photos released a number of pictures of this historic visit with the permission of Abdul M. Ismaily’s family.

On this happy occasion for the Ismailis of Hunza, GBee is pleased to share some of the photographs from Aga Khan’s first visit to Hunza in 1960.

Attached by pulley to the third cable was a wooden box, five feet square, with sides rising 18 inches. This was the only way to Hunza. The five journalists which included two Americans were horrified, and despite urging from Pir Ali Allana, the Aga Khan’s advance man, none would get into the box. Far across the river, men pulled on a rope, and, swaying and shaking, the box shot out over the swift-flowing stream of Hunza River. Today, the Nasirabad Bridge stands in this place.
Ismaili Volunteers with community leaders during the preparations to receive H.H. The Aga Khan at Baltit Polo Ground in Karimabad, Hunza.
Col. Ayash Khan, the brother of Mir Jamal Khan, the last royal ruler of Hunza, is seen standing in a uniform with members of the royal family of Hunza outside the royal palace in Hunza where His Highness the Aga Khan resided during his visit in 1960.
Aga Khan first visit to Hunza Valley 1960
Aga Khan in Hunza 1960

H.H. Aga Khan in conversation with Mir of Hunza.
Aga Khan in Hunza 1960
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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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