GILGIT: The Gilgit-Baltistan Bar Council on Thursday demanded of the federal government to extend the jurisdiction of the Supreme Court of Pakistan to the region for the abolition of the Supreme Appellate Court.

The demand comes as the lawyers announced the boycott of court proceedings from Aug 16 to Sept 1 against the delay in the filling of vacant posts of lower and higher judiciary.

The bar council met here with chairman Shafqat Wali in the chair, according to a news release.

The participants discussed matters related to the region’s judicial system and the constitutional rights of the residents. They demanded of the federal government to immediately declare GB a province of Pakistan until the resolution of the Kashmir dispute.

The lawyers also called for the region’s representation in all federal institutions like other provinces of Pakistan.

They demanded the abolition of the GB Supreme Appellate Court and extension of the jurisdiction of the Supreme Court of Pakistan to GB.

The lawyers announced that the residents won’t accept provisional provincial status for GB without the extension of the jurisdiction of the Supreme Court of Pakistan.

They complained that the government hadn’t disclosed GB’s population in line with the 2017 census.

The lawyers said 50 per cent of GB’s people lived in other parts of the country for work or trade, so they should be included in the region’s population. They said GB had a vast area, so it had a special status.

The lawyers demanded the provision of GB’s nine seats in the National Assembly and equal representation in the Senate of Pakistan like other provinces.

They said the posts of judges in the GB Supreme Appellate Court and chief court and lower courts had been lying vacant for many years.

Published in Dawn, August 13th, 2021

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