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Pakistan apex court's decision to hold elections in Gilgit Baltistan is illegal, unconstitutional, say activists

News Agencies | Updated on: 6 May 2020, 8:33 IST

Political activists from Gilgit Baltistan and Pakistan-occupied Kashmir (PoK) have termed the decision of the Pakistan Supreme Court to hold elections in Gilgit-Baltistan and form an interim government there as illegal and unconstitutional.

A seven-member larger bench of The Supreme Court headed by Chief Justice Gulzar Ahmed on Thursday (April 30) allowed accepted the plea of Prime Minister Imran Khan-led federal government to amend the Government of Gilgit Baltistan Order 2018 to conduct the general elections in September as well as setting up a caretaker government during the interregnum period.

Gilgit Baltistan government is presently headed by Chief Minister Hafiz Hafeezur Rehman of PML (N).

Reacting strongly in Supreme Court's decision, Senge H. Sering, the President of Institute for Gilgit Baltistan Studies told ANI, "The Supreme Court of Pakistan has made an illegal ruling in the context of occupied Gilgit Baltistan since it is not a constitutional part of the country. Pakistan is an occupier and must withdraw from Mirpur, Muzaffarabad, Gilgit, and Baltistan."

He added, "The United Nations had asked Pakistan to establish local authority in Gilgit in 1947. UN asked Pakistan to refrain from a material change in the occupied territory. The presence of Pakistan's troops in Gilgit Baltistan constitutes material change".

"No referendum on political future Gilgit Baltistan can be valid until all Pakistani nationals leave", said the activist.

Sajjad Raja, Chairman of The National Equality Party JKGBL said that no Pakistani court has the power to allow the central government to interfere in the internal affairs of Gilgit Baltistan.

"Gilgit Baltistan has a Legislative Assembly and a government, and the people of Gilgit Baltistan have the sole right to decide when and how they should hold elections and form an interim government. No government or court of Pakistan has the constitutional and legal right to take any decision in the affairs of Gilgit Baltistan", he told ANI.

Inside the Supreme Court, the Attorney General of Pakistan told the court that there is an Election Commission in Gilgit Baltistan, then there is no justification for interfering in the electoral process in Gilgit Baltistan.

Sajjad Raja said that in the light of its previous decisions, the Pakistani Supreme Court should have issued instructions to the Pakistani government not to interfere in areas that are not constitutionally part of Pakistan. But as the Pakistani courts are not independent, so no justice or fair constitutional or legal decisions can be expected from these Pakistani courts.

Professor Sajjad Raja said that Gilgit Baltistan is a part of the state of Jammu and Kashmir and is a disputed region. The areas of Gilgit Baltistan are not a constitutional part of Pakistan and the jurisdiction of the courts of Pakistan is not constitutionally applicable to Gilgit Baltistan.

Gilgit Baltistan is illegally occupied by Pakistan and the United Nations has proposed to form a completely independent government in its affairs until the future of Gilgit Baltistan is decided, which Pakistan has never recognized.

Raja said that all the Acts and Orders issued by the Government of Pakistan including Gilgit Baltistan Order 2018, 2019 and Election Act 2017 are unconstitutional and illegal. Neither the President of Pakistan nor any other institution has the constitutional authority to make administrative and constitutional decisions for Gilgit Baltistan.

"When the courts of Pakistan have legally declared that Gilgit Baltistan is not part of Pakistan, it is illegal and unconstitutional for the federal government of Pakistan to take the administrative and constitutional matters of Gilgit Baltistan back to the Pakistani Supreme Court. And it is a malicious act.", said the activist.

Raja said that the fact is that under the guise of present Supreme Court decision, the Pakistani government wants to directly intervene into Gilgit Baltistan to establish a puppet government of its own in Gilgit Baltistan which is completely under the control of the federal government of Pakistan. "The aim is to take all decisions at will by crushing the voices of the people from within Gilgit Baltistan.", he said.

Amjad Ayub Mirza, a journalist from PoK said, "Pakistan Supreme Court under the pressure from Pakistan Army has ordered the Imran Khan-led federal government to conduct elections in G-B. This is because they want to get rid of Pakistan Muslim League (Nawaz) government & replace it with the PTI government to have control over Gilgit Baltistan. 


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First published: 6 May 2020, 8:18 IST