SC forms committee to develop final draft of GB reforms

Published December 7, 2018
In May, the GB government had promulgated the Gilgit-Baltistan Order-2018 — a move that was rejected by thousands of protesters. — Dawn/File photo
In May, the GB government had promulgated the Gilgit-Baltistan Order-2018 — a move that was rejected by thousands of protesters. — Dawn/File photo

The Supreme Court on Friday formed a committee to prepare a final draft of planned reforms for Gilgit-Baltistan (GB) while hearing a case regarding the constitutional status of the territory.

The committee formed will be headed by the attorney general and include senior lawyer Aitzaz Ahsan, Salman Akram Raja, the Ministry of Kashmir Affairs and Gilgit-Baltistan secretary, Advocate Chaudhry Afrasiab and the GB law minister.

In May, the GB government had promulgated the Gilgit-Baltistan Order-2018 — a move that was rejected by thousands of protesters, who demanded that GB should be declared a part of Pakistan instead of being administered through presidential orders.

On December 3, the top judge had directed the federal government to submit its draft on planned reforms for GB by today, adding that the court would "give the territory's citizens their full rights".

The proposed draft was presented by the Attorney General of Pakistan before the seven-member larger bench headed by Chief Justice of Pakistan Mian Saqib Nisar today.

During Friday's hearing, CJP Nisar said, "The people of GB have said that they are not being given authority."

The attorney general who presented the proposed draft said that time was required for its completion.

He said that the draft bill seeks to hand authority over law enforcement and administrative matters over to the GB government in line with the Constitution.

"We cannot make it a separate province but we can give it the same powers that provinces have," the attorney general added, which the top judge said was praiseworthy.

The GB deputy advocate general said that they had not yet been given the draft, adding that they should be granted permission to share their own recommendations as well.

"Our effort is to approve all the demands of the people of GB," the attorney general responded.

Justice Nisar said that he believed that all the powers given to other provinces should also be given to GB, adding that there will be a few problems only with regards to taxes.

The court added that there should be a meeting at the attorney general's office on Thursday and adjourned hearing of the case until Dec 24.

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