Published On: Tue, Feb 16th, 2016

Constitutional Role of President of Azad Kashmir

Share This
Tags

By Dr. Syed Nazir Gilani –

I am here in Islamabad – Pakistan. Out of many meetings so far I have shortlisted my meetings with two personalities, namely Christian leader and Nominee for Nobel Peace Prize Julius Salik and President of Azad Kashmir Sardar Muhammad Yaqoob Khan, in the order of meeting dates. President is a man of noble elements and has a vision.

Julius Salik

Julius Salik received me in his office and I was touched to receive a bouquet of flowers. He joined me at a dinner at Islamabad Hotel and his presence in the group of Muslim friends remained distinct. One could not remain untouched to see that he was a Federal Minister in Benazir Bhutto’s Cabinet in 1996. Prime Minister of Pakistan nominated him for Nobel Peace Prize in April 1996 and described Salik as worthier candidate for Peace Prize in that year in her letter to Chairman, Nobel Peace Prize Committee, Norway.  He has not given up on his commitment to make a difference and is in the process of setting up a Salik Peace University (SPU), for which he has acquired the land. Salik is a symbol of standing against oppression and in defence of human rights of all. We have agreed to meet again and I have not been able to spare a date so far.

President

My meeting with the President of Azad Kashmir Sardar Muhammad Yaqoob Khan at the Kashmir House (Housing the President’s Office) on a rainy day remains memorable. The office of the PaK President has always occupied my professional interests. In this regard I have argued a Constitutional Writ Petition before the High Court (full court) of PaK from December 1992 to April 1999. Present during the long meeting was his daughter Farzana Yaqoob, minister for social welfare and women development, Government of PaK.

The most interesting feature of the Government is that it has been set up, “to provide for the better Government and administration of Pakistan-administered Kashmir until such time as the status of Jammu and Kashmir is determined, in accordance with the freely expressed will of the people of the State through the democratic method of free and fair plebiscite, under the auspices of the United Nations as envisaged in the UNCIP Resolutions adopted from time to time”.

Section 11 of The AJK Interim Constitution Act, 1974 recognises the President in regard to work on Self Determination in terms of the UNCIP Resolutions. In other words the legitimacy of the Government of Azad Kashmir primarily rests with the work carried out by the President’s office under Section 11 of the Constitution.  The Constitution makes President Yaqoob Khan the most important office in the full regime of work on Right of Self Determination and a lead link between Government of PaK and the Government of Pakistan and the UN mechanism under UNCIP Resolutions on the resolution of the right of self-determination of the people of Kashmir.

President of PaK is a member and Vice Chairman of AJK Council, while as Prime Minister of Pakistan is the chairman. Section 11 and Section 21 of the interim constitution act makes the President, the most important and powerful person at home and abroad. Sardar Muhammad Yaqoob Khan incidentally has also served as Prime Minister of PaK in 2009, before being elected as the 22nd President on 25 August 2011.

It is unfortunate that the office of the President has not energised itself either under Section 8 of AJK Government Act 1970 or under Section 11 of the interim constitution act for over 46 years. It has equally delayed its due role under Section 21 of the Act 1974 for over 42 years as well. Sections 8 of Act 1970, Sections 11 and 21 of Act 1974 are independent Sections and these do not clash with Sections 19(2), 31(3) and 56 designating a role for the Government of Pakistan.

Government of Pakistan

Government of Pakistan has assumed roles and duties, under responsibilities in accordance with UNCIP Resolutions in Azad Kashmir. President of PaK is also recognised by the Constitution for performing work on Self Determination in accordance with responsibilities under UNCIP Resolutions. Therefore, it would be incorrect to maintain that UNCIP Resolutions would be unfair and discriminatory in any manner to the President of PaK and favourable to the Government of Pakistan.

PaK at this point remains outsourced (under UNCIP Resolutions) to the supervision of the Government of Pakistan and it entails Trust duties and obligations towards the people of Kashmir. There is confusion in regards to the status of Kashmir on the UN Security Council Agenda. It is true that Kashmir (India-Pakistan Question) was hit by simplification process under Rule 11 of the Provisional Rules of Procedure of the Security Council in August 1996. It lost its regularity of presence on the agenda that it had enjoyed from January 1948 to August 1996.

Annual Reminder

Since after August 1996 Kashmir is now retained on the agenda through a formal request/notification. Ambassador Maleeha Lodhi has just performed her duty of informing the President of the Security Council on 07 January 2016 that Government of Pakistan wants to retain Kashmir (The India Pakistan Question) on the list of matters of which the Security Council is seized. The request has to be repeated every year. The other two items notified to be retained on the agenda of UN SC are, Hyderabad question and The Situation in the India/Pakistan sub-continent.

Even if

Even if for the sake of argument (which has no merit) one was to agree with the interpretation that powers of the Government of Pakistan under Sections 19(2), 31(3) and 56 override the powers of the President of PaK under Sections 11 and 21 of Act 1974, there has to be a balance and a full debate that The Constitution Act 1974 would mean to cause any kind of disability to the President in the exercise of the duties in terms of UNCIP Resolutions recognised by the Act 1970 and Act 1974.

Constitutional Democracy

Pakistan is a constitutional democracy and for over some period the political discipline has been struggling to streamline its institutional relationships in accordance with the Constitution and Rule of Law. Therefore, Pakistan could not afford to look away from its role within the Constitution and Rule of Law in PaK.

Trust duties under UNCIP Resolutions

It is clear that Pakistan has assumed Trust duties under UNCIP Resolutions in Pakistan-administered Kashmir, while as the President, within the meaning of State Subject Law of 20 April 1927, Sections 11 and Section 21 of Act 1974 has a direct duty to the people of Kashmir under UNCIP Resolutions or without these Resolutions. He is the custodian of the title of people to ‘equality’ and ‘self-determination’.

The office of the President is already late by 46 years (in terms of duty under Section 8 of Act 1970) and there is an urgent need to correct the error.  Constitutional duties under Act 1970 and Act 1974 continue to be ignored by the office of the President. President’s office is not alone in this lapse and delay. Government of Pakistan has a direct responsibility in the non-action of the office of the President PaK. President needs to be fully resourced and aided by the Government of Pakistan within the scope of the “discharge of its responsibilities under UNCIP Resolutions”.

PaK government installed “to provide for the better Government and administration of PaK until such time as the status of Jammu and Kashmir is determined, in accordance with the freely expressed will of the people of the State through the democratic method of free and fair plebiscite, under the auspices of the United Nations as envisaged in the UNCIP Resolutions adopted from time to time”, too has to resource the office of the President to perform Constitutional duties in terms of work on Self-Determination at home and abroad. President’s office has the Constitutional sanction to liaise with all the three administrations of Jammu and Kashmir, Governments of India and Pakistan and the United Nations.


Warning: Use of undefined constant gSendtofriend - assumed 'gSendtofriend' (this will throw an Error in a future version of PHP) in /homepages/9/d67383298/htdocs/Gaash/wp-content/themes/newstimes/single.php on line 74

    Print This Post Print This Post

Leave a comment

XHTML: You can use these html tags: <a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <cite> <code> <del datetime=""> <em> <i> <q cite=""> <s> <strike> <strong>