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Federation challenges GB court's order in Supreme Court.

The Gilgit-Baltistan (GB) Order 2018 has become a bone of contention between the centre and the judiciary in GB as the federation on Thursday challenged the suspension of the order in the Supreme Court (SC).

Supreme Appellate Court of GB, through a short order last month, had suspended the GB Order 2018 issuing notices to ministries of law and Kashmir affairs and others concerned. A lawmaker had approached the superior court in Gilgit against the order. Besides, the court had also taken suo motu notice of the prolonged protests across GB against the imposition of the order.

Through a constitutional petition filed by the federation through the secretary of Ministry of Kashmir Affairs and GB in SC, the petitioner has prayed that the court may declare that the proceeding initiated in Suo Motu Case No /2/2018 and all orders passed thereon inclusive of issuance of coercive process by GB Supreme Appellate Court are illegal, unconstitutional and corum-non-judice and consequently may be quashed. The court has also prayed for staying the proceedings in the suo motu case.

In the said petition, the Supreme Appellate Court GB registrar and GB Council member Saeed Afzal have been made a party in the case.

In the petition, the petitioner has raised following legal questions/points for consideration /determination by SC.

1. Whether the GB Supreme Appellate Court constituted under the GB (Empowerment and Self Governance,) Order 2009 can be termed as a constitutional court?

2. Whether the appellate court has the authority and powers to exercise suo motu jurisdiction and issue process, writ of mandamus, directions against the government of Pakistan?

3. Whether the appellate court can suspend, set aside or vary any law or order or law promulgated by the president in the exercise of Article 258 and 45 of the Constitution of Pakistan 1973?

4. Whether the appellate court constituted by virtue of the statutory instrument promulgated by the president can nullify the similar instrument and the authority of the president for the issuance of subsequent statutory instruments?

5. Whether the appellate court can enforce the order beyond the limits of GB area?

6. Whether the appellate court, is empowered even under Article 93 and 95 of the GB Empowerment and Self Governance Order 2009 to question the vires of any order/law or amendment promulgated by the president?

It may be recalled here that the president on June 1 had promulgated the GB Order 2018, which was highly criticised in the area for not being according to aspirations of the people of GB. The order, the opposition parties, traders and people claim, has rather made the prime minister empowered instead of the region.

PML-N government after a three-year-long deliberation has introduced the new order replacing Self Governance Order 2009, introduced by Pakistan People's Party (PPP) government. However, the new law could not attract the residents and they protested for many days across the 10 districts of the region.

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Publication:Pakistan Today (Lahore, Pakistan)
Date:Jul 5, 2018
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