June 2000 News

Self-rule for Northern Areas demanded

15 June 2000

KARACHI: Pakistan Workers Party chief and former president of the Pakistan Bar Council Abid Hasan Minto here on Wednesday urged the government to implement the Supreme Court verdict on the status of the Northern Areas.Speaking at a seminar on the "Supreme Court''s verdict and the constitutional status of Northern Areas", he supported the demands of the people of the area for according them their due constitutional and democratic rights.Mr Minto said the SC verdict was a compromise formula which clearly defines the legislative and judicial structure, as well as the constitutional status of the area.He criticized the successive governments for their "inconsistent" policies and recalled that the attorney-general had agreed with the decision of the Azad Kashmir High Court that the northern areas were a part of Kashmir.He supported the struggle for independence by the Kashmiris and said the people of Northern Area and Kashmir be given their right to self-determination.Pending the settlement of the Kashmir issue, he said, the government, as a first step, should give the self-rule right to the people of the Northern Area, with an elected assembly.He also urged the government to set up an independent judicial system in the area.Supporting the power devolution plan, he said it should start from the Centre to the provinces and onward to the districts and tehsils.Mr Minto extended his party''s support to the people of Gilgit and Baltistan and asked them to work out an agenda to secure their fundamental rights. For this, he said, they should join hands with the democratic forces in the country.Among others who spoke included Yousuf Masti Khan, Nargis Fatima, Dr Ghulam Abbas, Raja Maqpoon Hussain, Mohammad Yousuf and Mumtaz Nagri, Syed Mujahid Hussain, Habib Younus, Mahboob Ali Balawaristani, Mohammed Hussain Haqqani, Manzoor Hussain Parwana and Mohammad Hussain Rehmani.


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