ISLAMABAD: The government is not going to extend the jurisdiction of the Supreme Court to Gilgit-Baltistan (G-B) and has sought time from the top court to implement a proposed order pertaining to the status, authority, and powers of the G-B and the rights available to its people through appropriate amendments.
“Timeframe prescribed in the January 17, 2019 judgment [of the Supreme Court] may kindly be extended,” said an application filed in the apex court by the Ministry of Kashmir Affairs and Gilgit and Baltistan.
A seven-judge SC larger bench, headed by Justice Gulzar Ahmed, on Monday heard the case related to the implementation of the judgment. The bench later issued notices to the G-B Supreme Appellate Court and others.
The SC in its judgment on January 17 directed the federal government to promulgate the proposed order forthwith or within a fortnight. The judgment said: The proposed order (modified in the manner as noted in the judgment), shall be forthwith promulgated by the president on the advice of the federal government, and in any case within a fortnight.
“No amendment shall be made to the order as so promulgated except in terms of the procedure provided in Article 124 of the same, nor shall it be repealed or substituted without the instrument amending, repealing or substituting the same being placed before this court by the federal through an application that will be treated as a petition under Article 184(3). Nothing in this judgment shall be construed to limit the jurisdiction conferred on this court by the proposed order itself.
“If the order so promulgated is repealed or substituted by an act of parliament the validity thereof if challenged, shall be examined on the touchstone of the Constitution,” it added.
The Attorney General for Pakistan, representing the ministry, submitted that in compliance of the apex court directions, the proposed order was placed for approval of the federal cabinet. Some discontentment expressed by the people and the G-B government.
The people of G-B demanded that instead of governing the region through presidential orders, the areas should be governed through an act of parliament of Pakistan. The government of G-B also observed that their view points were not addressed.
A meeting of the stakeholders was held on February 6, 2019, and consensus was reached that the Gilgit Baltistan Governance Reforms, 2019 may be enacted through the parliament according to aspirations of the G-B people.
Accordingly, some amendments in the proposed order of the Gilgit-Baltistan Governance Reforms, 2019 were made in constitution with all the stakeholders including the G-B government, Ministry of Law and Justice and the office of the Attorney General for Pakistan.
It said as per the outcome of the said meetings, it is proposed that a bill be tabled before the parliament with the proposed amendments. The substantial compliance of the directions of the Supreme Court has been done and it would also fulfill demands of the G-B people.
For full and complete compliance of the directions of the apex court time is granted for the enactment of the Gilgit-Baltistan Governance Reforms 2019 such that the federal government may table the bill before the parliament with the amendments.
The government has also shared amendments in the proposed order. It is stated that the aggrieved person will not challenge the G-B local court in the apex court of Pakistan.