KARACHI: Giving powers of legislation to the bureaucracy in Islamabad and brazenly denying the people their rights is an affront to the people of Gilgit-Baltistan that will have far reaching consequences for political stability.
This has been stated by Pakistan Peoples Party chairman Bilawal Bhutto Zardari in a statement after Prime Minister Khaqan Abbasi announced enforcement of the Gilgit-Baltistan reforms package.
Referring to the 31st constitutional amendment, he said the parliament just passed a amendment bill taking away powers of the president on tribal areas to empower its people. “Just the same time the federal government has ambushed the people of GB by taking away their powers and vesting it to the prime minister,” he said.
According to the reforms package, the prime minister will not only make laws for GB but can also override any law passed by the Legislative Assembly, he said asking if there could be anything more provocative.
“The so called reforms package is a grave provocation and warned against the consequences of bulldozing it without taking the people and the GB Assembly into confidence,” he said.
Bilawal assured the people of GB that PPP will ensure that the right to legislate is vested in the GB Legislative Assembly, and the parliament and not the prime minister should make legislation as is the case for all provinces.
He said the PPP will not allow the bureaucracy or any individual to legislate for GB, not even the prime minister of Pakistan. “If the president can no longer legislate for the tribal areas why should the Prime minister legislate for the people of GB,” he asked.
Bilawal also questioned sweeping restrictions on the GB Assembly on issues of discussion calling it a grave violation of the fundamental rights of the people.
All coercive laws have been extended to GB but human rights-related laws are not, he said adding, such degrading treatment of people of GB must come to an end before it is too late.
Bilawal also questioned the definition of citizenship saying that it opened the door for exploitation of the local people by outsiders and called for its review.
Furthermore, the provision that only retired judges of the high courts and Supreme Court are eligible to become Chief Judge of the Supreme Appellate Court of GB means that no citizen of GB can ever become the Chief Judge, he said.
Bilawal also demanded release of rights activists and a halt to the taking over of lands by the state.