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

Posted on

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.


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

Posted on

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: Another Mega Scam in GB?

Posted on

Gilgit (ET): The Pakistan Muslim League Nawaz (PML-N) has accused the Gilgit-Baltistan (G-B) government of awarding a multi-million rupee tender on nepotism.

Addressing reporters outside the Gilgit Press Club on Saturday, PML-N Ghizer President Rana Nasir Hussain alleged that the government has awarded a tender for Rs700 million to blue-eyed officials. He claimed that the tender – which includes construction of buildings, boundary walls and classrooms in different valleys of the region, including Ghizer, Diamer and Skardu – was not advertised in any newspaper.

“We have done our homework and we believe that the education minister, education secretary and a director are among those involved in this mega scam,” Hussain alleged. Furthermore, he said that the project was awarded in the month of May, “which suggests that they intended to withdraw the money before the end of the fiscal year”. The accused officials could not be contacted for comment.

Gilgit-Baltistan:GB Development Authority Bill Passed

Posted on

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.”

Gilgit-Baltistan:Annual Sports Day at Government Postgraduate College for Girls

Posted on

Gilgit (ET): With competitions and meticulously rehearsed parades, the annual sports week at Government Postgraduate College Gilgit was the much-needed relief for the town’s residents.

More than 150 girls on Thursday participated zealously in an array of sports activities, including races, tug-of-war and cricket and volleyball matches, and showed great sportsmen spirit.

The event was attended by Gilgit-Baltistan (G-B) Chief Minister Mehdi Shah, the guest of honour, along with G-B Chief Secretary Saifullah Chatha, G-B Minister for Education Dr Ali Madad, female lawmakers Mehnaz Wali and Sadia Danish, and other dignitaries.

“We wanted to do a lot more for the region and particularly for the education sector, but the deteriorating law and order situation has been a stumbling block,” the chief minister said in his address.

He said that in developing countries the process of imparting education continues “throughout the year and around the clock”, but regretfully in G-B schools are forced to stay closed for weeks and at times month.

Shah said that the government spends around Rs2 to 3 million on each student till the time he/she graduates from college, adding that such interruptions are a loss for both the student and the government. However, he assured that efforts are being made to ensure peace in the region.

Shah announced the approval of the much-awaited timescale formula for the promotion of schoolteachers, along with the construction of a water purification plant and a medical facility in the college. He assured that priority will be given to complete the pending construction of the college’s classrooms.

Shan also called on the teachers to help improve the quality of education, and the students to play their role in maintaining peace in the region.

The college principal, Uzma Haroon, highlighted the issues being faced by the administration and the students. She said that the college lacks teaching staff and is also in need of a hostel for students of remote valleys.

Postgraduate College Gilgit was constructed during Zulfiqar Ali Bhutto’s rule and currently enrols over 1,400 students.

Gilgit-Baltistan:PTI Demands Release of Political Activist

Posted on

Karachi (News): Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) Secretary General Dr Arif Alvi has pledged support for the demand for the release of Baba Jan Hunzai and his fellow activists of the Labor Party Pakistan who had been languishing in jail for months.

During a meeting with the Labour Party leader Farooq Tariq, Dr Alvi condemned the alleged torture of the arrested, saying that the treatment meted out to the political activists was a clear violation of fundamental human rights.

He said the alleged torture of Baba Jan Hunzai was in complete contradiction with the PPP government’s claim that there were no political prisoners in the country. The PPP had continually mistreated political activists including the people of Gilgit-Baltistan who had been struggling for their political and economic rights, he added. Dr Alvi expressed support for the petition demanding the immediate release of the political activists.

Gilgit-Baltistan: Code of Conduct for Prayer Leaders in Gilgit

Posted on

Gilgit (ET): The Gilgit-Baltistan (G-B) government has linked the opening of the mosques sealed in the aftermath of sectarian violence with the acceptance of the code of conduct that bars prayer leaders from making hate speeches.

The code of conduct, prepared by a parliamentary peace committee, binds prayer leaders of both central mosques not to malign each other’s beliefs or to use foul language against the rival sect’s revered personalities. It states that prayer leaders and their deputies should not issue inflammatory decrees, especially during Friday and Eid sermons.

Clerics will not demand a share in government jobs and other privileges for their respective sects under the new code of conduct. If they violate it, they will be liable to be tried under the anti-terrorism act, the code states.

The peace committee comprising Adviser to the Prime Minister Attaullah Shahab, G-B Legislative Assembly, Deputy Speaker Jamil Ahmed, Member G-B Council Amjad Hussain, Adviser Forests and Wildlife Aftab Haider and others was constituted by the government in the wake of sectarian bloodshed that led to the closure of central mosques of both sects in Gilgit. Over 20 people were killed and scores of others were injured last month.

“The code of conduct aims to achieve long-term peace in the region,” said Hussain on Tuesday.

The parliamentary committee on Monday handed over the code of conduct to the Masjid Board that is represented by 20 members, 10 each from Shia and Sunni sects, who will be responsible for ensuring that the code is implemented.

According to a source privy to the board’s affairs, central mosques of Sunni and Shia sects will only be opened if the clerics guarantee they will not issue decrees condemning the other sect. “What has been banned is foul language against revered personalities besides branding each other infidel,” said the source. The board will take a final decision today in this connection, he added.

The Masjid Board is responsible for implementation of the 15-point code of conduct which is binding on prayer leaders in Gilgit. “If they refuse to accept the conditions, the mosques will remain closed for an indefinite period,” he said.

Following sectarian bouts in early April, the government sealed the doors of central mosques, barring people from offering prayers there.