MUZAFFARABAD: The Azad Jammu and Kashmir (AJK) Legislative Assembly on Thursday unanimously approved 14th amendment to the territory’s Constitution, “to remove an ambiguity regarding the process for appointment of the members of its superior courts.”

Previously, under Articles 42 and 43 of the AJK’s interim Constitution, judges in the territory’s supreme and high courts were appointed on the advice of the AJK Council Chairman (prime minister of Pakistan).

However, after the 13th constitutional amendment of 2018, a difference of opinion had emerged about whether the advice shall be given by the council or by the chairman; this is why appointments of permanent chief justices to the supreme and high court were not made since April this year and November last year, respectively, because the federal law division had reportedly opined that a session of the council was required for such advice.

Under the amendment, the words “the Chairman of” were inserted in both articles between, “on the advice of” and “the Council.”

Thursday’s Assembly session was convened with a single point agenda during which relevant rules were suspended to pave way for instant passage of the bill, with the support of opposition lawmakers.

Published in Dawn, December 25th, 2020

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