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UKPNP rejects 15th Amendment and Tourism Act for AZAD Kashmir

The 15th Amendment is now being prepared, which will be the 24th attempt to determine the constitutional status of the region (Azad Kashmir).

Political, economic, democratic and constitutional rights are not yet guaranteed in the region.”
— Jamil Maqsood

BRUSSELS, BELGIUM, August 5, 2022 / -- The constitutional status of Pakistan-administered Jammu and Kashmir is intended to be fixed once again. In this regard, the 15th amendment to the Act enacted by the Government of Pakistan in 1974, is required. Earlier, an ordinance was implemented in 1950, to run the administration of the region under the Karachi Agreement of 1949. In which various changes were made until 1958. However, in the 1960s, the implementation of the Basic Democracies (BD) Act was enacted. The same Act changed in 1964, 1967, and 1968. In 1970, the Act 1970, was implemented to hold direct presidential elections. Act -1970 was replaced with 1974, with 14 amendments so far. Despite all this hard work, the constitutional status of the region and the distribution of powers between the local government could not be satisfied with the different governments and the state of Pakistan. Thus, the 15th Amendment is now being prepared, which will be the 24th attempt to determine the constitutional status of the region (Azad Kashmir), in the last 75 years.

A committee of the local government has been set up for the 15th Amendment, whose members include the government government Mir Akbar Khan, Dewan Ali Khan Chughtai, Abdul Majid Khan, Azhar Sadiq, Zafar Iqbal Malik, Chaudhry Yasser Sultan, Secretary Agriculture and Secretary Law and Justice, Parliamentary Affairs and Human Rights. The draft, which was drafted in consultation with the committee, is said to have come to them in a ready state. A presentation of the draft was prepared by the Secretary of Law and Justice to present it to the committee, which has now reached the journalists as well as the opposition parties. A letter for the 15th Constitutional Amendment has also been written by the Ministry of Kashmir Affairs. The letter, written by the Joint Secretary Ministry of Kashmir Affairs and Gilgit-Baltistan on July 1st , 2022, states that a high-level committee headed by the Prime Minister of Pakistan, Federal Secretary of Law and Justice, met on June 30, 2022.

Abolish pre-electoral approval?
The meeting has decided to form a subcommittee that will review and finalise the proposed draft constitutional amendment. The letter also states that through this amendment, the ongoing functions of the Pakistani-administered Jammu and Kashmir government are to be aligned with the provincial governments of Pakistan and the government will be changed on the functions of the Pakistani-administered Jammu and Kashmir in the manner of federating units (ie other units of the Federation. The subcommittee was given a mandate by 31st, July, 2022 to meet this target. The three members have been included in the sub-committee by the Government of Pakistan. They will include one member of the Ministry of Law and Justice, defence and Ministry of Kashmir Affairs. The three members nominated by the government of Azad Kashmir (Administered by Pakistan), will also be part of this subcommittee. Through this letter, the Chief Secretary of Pakistan-administered Jammu and Kashmir has been asked to nominate 3 members of the local government. The local government (AJK), has nominated the secretaries government Mr. Idrees and Irshad Qureshi for the committee. The draft by the local ministers government shows that it is an attempt to rollback 13th Constitutional Amendment and restore Jammu and Kashmir Council's institution with ample powers. The federal government's letter is expressing a contrary to the situation, according to which the constitutional status of the region ( Pakistani Administered Jammu Kashmir), is being prepared like other provinces of Pakistan. This change requires a change in Articles and sub-articles related to the distribution of resources, including Article (1), and 257, of the Pakistani Constitution. However, some experts believe that through the 15th Constitutional Amendment, all the powers of the local assembly are likely to be transferred to the Kashmir Council, with the majority of Pakistan's representatives in the Council, which is intended to pave the way for this change. Thus, the draft of the 15th Amendment cannot be ignored in this way. According to the draft, it is proposed to include the Foreign Minister, the Home Minister and the Finance Minister in the formation of the Council. The government's prior approval of all amendments to the constitution has been mandated, whereas before that only three sections 31, 33 and 56, were not allowed. In the 13th Constitutional Amendment, the number of ministers was fixed at 30% of the assembly members, which is proposed to be increased to 50%. The Council's powers have been deleted to the local government. The draft proposes to abolish the pre-election approval of the Assembly and the termination of the Assembly, while restoring the section on the suspension of fundamental rights for the implementation of the Emergency. It is proposed to build and restore the council within 15 days of the amendment. An increase of 12, seats has been proposed for the symbolic representation of Indian-administered areas of Jammu- Kashmir and Ladakh, which will remain vacant. Under the 13th Constitutional Amendment, 54, Subjects for legislation Assembly were divided into Part A and B of Schedule Three (3). In the 32 Subjects included in Part A, only the Government of Pakistan had the power to legislate, while the Legislative Assembly on the 22, subjects involved in Part B was given the authority to legislate with the consent or approval of the Government of Pakistan. However, the new proposed amendment also proposes to assign legislation to the Council on 22- subjects included in Part B. In this way, all the Hydroelectric projects, electricity produced in those projects, subsoil minerals and resources , the determination of the jurisdiction of the courts, the legislative curriculum will not be able to make this assembly. The Legislative Assembly will not play any role in the Council's laws.

Political leadership
The Prime Minister of Pakistan will also have the authority to appoint judges of the Supreme Court and the appointments made by the Prime Minister of Pakistan will not be challenged in any court. The appointment of Chief Election Commissioner and Auditor General will also be the prerogative of Prime Minister of Pakistan and this appointment will not be challenged in any court of Pakistan. The Kashmir Property in Pakistan will be declared owned and the authority to impose an emergency will be assigned to the Prime Minister of Pakistan. Thus, the political leadership fears that the powers of the local government will be approved and given powers to the Council, and the emergency powers will be replaced by the Prime Minister of Pakistan, amending the constitution of Pakistan and changing the legal and political status of the region would run as provincial structure. Even here, more and more fears of identity are emerging in the wake of the implementation of the Citizenship Act. Due to the state subject rule of 20th of April-1927, and in the disputed area, no one can buy land from abroad, it also barred non-state subjects in local jobs. The procedure for obtaining citizenship in this region is almost impossible. Similarly, it is imperative to change the region's distinct and disputed status or identity in order to lease tourist destinations to foreign investors. Legal experts says that by amending the Tourism Promotion Act 2019 and the establishment of the Tourism Development Authority and the completion of the plan to hand over the land of 571 square kilometres to foreign investors is also necessary to change the existing constitution. However, the project is not so new. The Pakistani military think that they could also take steps like Government of India has taken in August-2019. In response to the Government of India, the government of Pakistan had issued a political map by , showing its claim on the entire state of Jammu and Kashmir as its part. It is also matter of greatest concern for the people as well as all the local stakeholders to oppose Pakistani policy to suspend state subject rule more likely it was done in Gilgit-Baltistan. The suspension of the state subject rule in that disputed entity has changed local demography and paved the way for colonisation of the local resources. However, by take it such actions the Government of pakistan is trying to whitewash international opinion on the status of these peripheries. Thus, it can be seen that the ruling classes and state of Pakistan with the help of local collaborators are committed to this ambitions to continue their occupation of the region and to plunder the resources of the region rather than improving the lives and development of the people living in both peripheries ie So called Azad Jammu kashmir & Gilgit- Baltistan. . Therefore, the people of both regions are being used badly under the global situation and regional strategic needs to fulfil these expansionist designs. Whenever there is a need for constitutional, political and geographical amendments and claims try to convince the local population that these changes are being made in view of their interests. The current change is also being made on imperial and strategic grounds. Every change made in the past has been the same as that of imperialist and strategic needs of pakistan . Whenever such changes have been made, the local ruling elite has been using the national chauvinism to protest to gain its share. At present, the ruling elaborators protest is intended to impose their agenda of exploitation. The right-wing leadership and part of the ruling collaborators announce the protest of the government's decisions and policies and to promote loyalty to the state of Pakistan. Clearly, it has always been reluctant to say that the state of Pakistan had killed the people of the region on the authority of the government. Even then, the ruling elite did not feel comfortable handing over all the powers of the government of Pakistan, ignoring the sacrifices of the people of the region, keeping the local population in the darkness . It is hoped that the the state of Pakistan will have fulfil its obligations and commitment made at the United Nations particularly the one passed on 13thof August-1948. That Resolutions has provided a legal and political methodology to resolve Jammu Kashmir conflict.

Personal interests
The temporary government of Azad Jammu Kashmir that is acting as unrecognised entity seeks to maintain the state's geographical integrity and political status . ”This dream of choosing a democratic, constitution-making and representative government from public opinion, including restoration of state administration, has not yet reached its end. In 1950, a movement against the government of Pakistan was launched on the demand of the government through adult franchise , on which the military operation was launched against local uprising . The demand was acknowledged due to public resistance but could not be implemented again. In 1956, there was a revolt again, which was again thwarted by the Punjab Constabulary and the regular army of pakistan. The reconciliatory role of the collaborators allowed these sacrifices to go to vain and the government of Pakistan retained the authority to nominate local rulers. The people of this region have made an unprecedented history of sacrifices every time for decades to achieve political, economic and constitutional rights, but the ruling elite has always used these sacrifices to achieve their personal interests. Public aspirations have always been dealt wit force and treacherous policies. That is why people in this region are suffering from poverty, insolvency and employment. Political, economic, democratic and constitutional rights are not yet guaranteed in the region. At present, public sentiment against identity and to change the status is being used by the ruling elite to create a limited scope for the revival of the democratic rights.. In order to advance this struggle, the first step will be to build all the powers of governance and constitution, as well as the demand for financial powers and the struggle to end military occupation. All resources, including all power generation projects, have to be taken into national control and go ahead under the program of democratic control of the public. Instead of fighting for the interests of the ruling elite in the guise of identity and chauvinism, the real salvation of the oppressed people of both the regions will have to be created for the establishment of a society free of exploitation. On the basis of the principles of fair distribution of resources, current struggle will have to be established and supported to have democratic, political and economical emancipation of both peripheries either administered or illegally run by Pakistan for seven decades. The progressive and pro- people leadership would have to establish its close alliance with oppressed nations , including Gilgit-Baltistan. Historically, it has been shown that the collaborators can build the slogans of the working class for their ulterior motives. In this scenario the people of Pakistani Administered Azad Jammu and Kashmir must remain United and steadfast to resist against proposed constitutional amendments and so called tourism act. It is time to raise for the United Jammu and Kashmir that has been existing from 16th of March -1846 to 22nd of October-1947.

Jamil Maqsood

Jamil Maqsood
+32 499 82 52 70
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