May 2016 News

Kashmiri Leaders Seek Fair And Transparent Elections In PoK

17 May 2016

Islamabad: In a conference jointly organised by the United Kashmir Peoples National Party(UKPNP) and the Awami Worker Party(AWP) on Sunday. A call was made to seek amendments in the Interim Constitution Act, 1974, to ensure a fair and transparent election in Pakistan Occupied Kashmir. Leading prominent lawyer and AWP president Abid Hassan Minto said that the present laws implemented in AJK and Gilgit Baltistan are not representing the rights of the people of PoK and Gilgit Baltistan. The parties present at the meeting noted that the present AJK Interim Constitution Act, 1974 is an 'unjust' law, which is giving all authorities to the Kashmir Affairs Ministry, Kashmir Council and to the direct appointed officers from Pakistan instead of from the AJK Government. However, the Interim Act was imposed by the government of Pakistan without the consent of the AJK people. The AJK is governed through the Ministry of Kashmir Affairs and Kashmir Council headed by Pakistan Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif. Leaders at the conference deliberated that Pakistan officials dominate the Kashmir Council and that the Chief Secretary, the Inspector-General of Police, the Accountant-General and the Finance Secretary are all from Pakistan, even though the 1974 Interim Constitutional act forbids any political activity, that is not in accordance with the doctrine of Jammu and Kashmir accession with Pakistan. A cohesive perspective at the conference was that the people of PoK have the right to elect their representatives democratically but these representatives cannot exercise the powers getting from masses, as all powers are consolidated with the Kashmir Council which is governed from Pakistan. According to the UN resolution, the people of PoK have special status and Pakistan is also openly supporting their rights of self determination which is unlimited right to express freely. However, the situation is very much contradictory with all pledges, commitments made by Pakistan on different international forums. The nationalists political parties and progressive individuals, who believe the restoration of complete independent state of Jammu and Kashmir, are not allowed to take part in election process under this Act. Section 4(7-(2)) of this Interim Act restricts any person to participate in political activity who does not believe accession with Pakistan and the conference acceded that this section was a violation of the rights of self-determination and fundamental human rights of AJK people. Nisar Shah Advocate, the AWP central spokesperson and organiser of the conference, said the present Act 1974 covers only AJK, while there is a need to restore the historical unification of both territories of AJK and Gilgit Baltistan by forming new constitutional assembly, along with democratic constitution which represents and guarantees basic rights of the people of Kashmir and Gilgit Baltistan in real sense. He said this act did not represent the people of PoK, adding that the government of Pakistan should fulfil its commitments towards the issue of AJK and restore the rights of the people of AJK and Gilgit Baltistan. Justice Abdul Majeed Malik, Sardar Khalid Ibrahim, Professor MRK Khaliq, Sabir Kashmiri, Tahir Shah, Yaseen Anjum, Abdul Majeed Kanjoo, Dr. Yahya Ahmed spoke on the occasion. JK Liberation League, JK National Awami Party, JK Liberation Front, JK National Party, Blawaristan National Front, Gilgit Baltistan Action Committee, JK Peoples Party, PPP Jammu Kashmir, All Parties National Alliance Balawaristan National Movement and other human rights organisations participated in the conference.