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Thursday, 12 November 2015
Demands To Make Azad Kashmir & Gilgit Baltistan Two New Provinces Of Pakistan
Former chief justice of the Azad Jammu and Kashmir (AJK) Supreme Court has sought provincial status for the two disputed territories of Azad Jammu and Kashmir (AJK) and Gilgit-Baltistan (G-B).
Justice (retd) Manzoor Hussain Gilani, chairman of the Association for the Rights of People of Jammu and Kashmir, told The Express Tribunethat both G-B and AJK are parts of the disputed state of Jammu and Kashmir, under control of Pakistan.
He said the present de-facto provincial arrangements in G-B and AJK need to be formalised in the Constitution. The lack of this formalisation has hampered the commitment of the Pakistani government, and retarded democratic growth of the areas, while denying them their legitimised status under the country’s constitution, he stressed.
“Both territories need similar, simultaneous constitutional reforms to be empowered as ‘special territories of Pakistan akin to provinces’, with representation in all policy and decision-making institutions under the Constitution,” Gilani said.
The process will also legitimise the rights and duties of the governments of Pakistan, he added. Gilani welcomed the Pakistani government’s decision to form a committee, chaired by PM’s Foreign Affairs Adviser Sartaj Aziz, to empower the provinces.
The first meeting of the committee will be held on Thursday in Islamabad.