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Gilgit-Baltistan:Appointment of GB Chief Judge Challenged in Supreme Court

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Gilgit (D.Times):The judicial Hullabaloo continues in Gilgit-Baltistan as the recent appointment of the Chief Judge of GB apex court has been challenged in the Supreme Court of Pakistan.

Ghulam Abbas, chairman Gilgit-Baltistan National Moment (GBNM) has filed a petition in the supreme court of Pakistan seeking an injunction against the appointment and a stay order on the oath taking ceremony of the new judge.

The petitioner has contended that the appointment of the retired judge in the court of last resort is illegal and against the basic human rights of the people of Gilgit as per the Gilgit-Baltistan (Empowerment and Self-Governance) Order, 2009.

The writ petition filed through Advocate Ikram Chaudhry has contended that the appointment of Chief Judge is against the Gilgit-Baltistan Order which constitutes:

“At any time when the office of Chief Judge of Gilgit-Baltistan is vacant, or the Chief Judge, is absent or unable to perform the functions of his office due to any other cause, the next senior Judge of the Supreme Appellate Court to act as Chief Judge of Gilgit-Baltistan.”

The petitioner has pleaded the highest court of Pakistan to declare the appointment null and void and issue a stay-order against the oath-taking ceremony of the judge which is likely to proceed on 8th of this month.

Social and political circles in Gilgit-Baltistan disapprove re-employment of retired judges – for fear of politically motivated selective justice— in Gilgit-Baltistan by federal government without any respect to the Self Rule Ordinance.

It is to be mentioned here that the Chief Justice of Pakistan earlier has disapproved the re-employment of senior judges expecting them to retire gracefully and regard the independence of judiciary.

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Gilgit-Baltistan:GB Council has Powers to allow applicability of Pakistan’s Tax Laws

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Karachi (BR): Ministry of Law and Justice legally endorsed the Federal Board of Revenue’s measures to impose capital gains tax (CGT) on sale of property, confirming that the federal government has the authority to collect gains on the sale of immovable property after the passage of 18th Amendment.

Deputy Draftsman, Ministry of Law and Justice informed the committee that the income tax law for the Gilgit Baltistan has been vetted by the Division and is also being applicable in the said area. On the same issue, Chief Income Tax Policy FBR stated that the FBR has drafted the Income Tax Law for the Gilgit Baltistan on the pattern of the Income Tax Ordinance 2001.

Members of the Committee also raised the issue of applicability of income tax laws in all parts of the country including AJ&K, Gilgit Baltistan, FATA and PATA. The officials of the FBR and finance ministry informed the committee that President has powers to extend the jurisdiction of any tax law in FATA, Governor Khyber Pakhtunkhawa has the powers to extend the tax laws in PATA, similarly, AJ&K Council and Gilgit Baltistan Council have the powers to allow applicability of Pakistan”s tax laws in their jurisdictions. Chairperson Nasreen Jalil was of the opinion that tax laws should be equally applicable in all parts of the country without any discrimination.

Gilgit-Baltistan:GB Development Authority Bill Passed

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Gilgit(ET): Following a unanimous vote in its favour, the Gilgit-Baltistan Legislative Assembly (GBLA) enacted the G-B Development Authority Bill on Friday. The bill, prepared by G-B Law Minister Wazir Baig and refined by a parliamentary committee, will serve as the watchdog for development in the mountain region.

During the session, G-B Senior Minister Muhammad Jaffar said the posts for three newly carved divisions would be created in the upcoming budget.

The health minister, Haji Gulbar Khan, criticised the ban on recruitment in hospitals, saying that it has created staff shortage and the vacant posts should be filled on an immediate basis.

Replying to Khan, the law minister said it is expected that the federal government will lift the ban after the budget is announced.

The speaker also inquired about the 10,000 posts sought from the federal government for various departments and asked the law minister to initiate the process of recruitment in this regard.

Sarwar Shah, a lawmaker of JUI-F from Diamer Valley, pointed out that Darel and Tangeer valleys had not received their quota of 22,000 wheat bags so far.

However, Jaffar, who is also the minister for food, said the delay was caused due to the law and order situation in the region followed by a strike by transporters. He assured that the commodity would be delivered on an immediate basis.

The chief minister was also urged to regularise the jobs of lecturers appointed on contract basis during the session.

No regrets

Meanwhile, a legislator barred from entering the assembly said he would resort to his voters instead of seeking an apology or any other legal course against the decision.

“The people voted me to power by rejecting the bribe offered to them in the shape of Benazir Income Support Programme (BISP) and Watan cards,” said Nawaz Khan Naji, a nationalist leader during a press conference.

Naji was barred from entering the assembly for tearing apart a copy of resolution supporting Prime Minister Yousaf Raza Gilani.

His act led to a ruckus in the house and ended up with the speaker calling in the police for his arrest.

Naji said he had just torn a piece of paper, while on the other hand the treasury benches had hurled abuse at him.

“Action should have been taken against them, not me,” he remarked, adding that the treasury benches were trying unnecessarily to bail out Gilani, who had been convicted by Pakistan’s highest judiciary.

He further said that the G-B governor and chief minister were looting public money in the name of protocol and the empowerment order. “Not a single development project has been completed in the region for the past two years.”