GILGIT: The Supreme Appellate Court on Wednesday suspended the newly-promulgated Gilgit-Baltistan Order 2018.
In a short order, it also issued contempt of court notice to respondents — former prime minister Shahid Khaqan Abbasi as chairman of the GB Council, federal minister for Kashmir affairs and GB and joint secretary of the council — for violation of law.
Member of council Saeed Afzal, elected from GB Legislative Assembly, had filed a petition in Supreme Appellate Court earlier in April under Article 61 of the GB Empowerment and Self-Governance Order 2009, pleading the court to declare the GB Order 2018 illegal and issue a stay order.
In the petition, Mr Afzal had said that he was elected amongst others as the GB council member who took the oath under Article 33 of the GB Empowerment and Self-Governance Order 2009 and was entitled to hold the office till 2020.
He had contended that the former prime minister had intended to repeal the law in order to introduce a new government under GB Order 2018 in the name of constitutional and administrative reforms.
Mr Afzal had requested that the respondents to be directed not to abolish the membership of the petitioners as members of the GB council till completion of their tenure. He also urged respondents to refrain from introducing the new order in haste without taking all stakeholders of the region in confidence.
During the hearing of the case on April 24, GB Supreme Appellate Court Chief Judge Rana Muhammad Shamim had issued a stay order till disposal of the case.
However, the federal government promulgated GB Order 2018 during the last days of its government.
In its latest hearing on Wednesday, the two-member bench of the court comprising Chief Judge Rana Shamim and Justice Javed Ahmed issued suspension order of the new order.
The chief judge observed that despite stay order of the court, GB Order 2018 was introduced which was violation of law.
Advocate Amjad Hussain said that introduction of the law during a stay order was illegal, adding that the step was an attack on the disputed status of GB and the Kashmir issue. The next hearing of the case is scheduled for July 26.
Published in Dawn, June 21st, 2018