Centre forms committee to review legal status of Gilgit-Baltistan


— Top judge gives committee 15 days to reach decision 


ISLAMABAD: The federal government on Thursday formed a committee to review the legal status of Gilgit-Baltistan (GB) following directions of the Supreme Court (SC).

As a seven-judge bench headed by Chief Justice of Pakistan (CJP) Mian Saqib Nisar heard the case, Attorney General of Pakistan (AGP) Anwar Mansoor Khan informed the court that he had followed court’s directives and written a letter pertaining the matter to the Centre. Then, the cabinet had formed a committee to review the legal status.

The top judge gave the committee 15 days to reach a decision and expressed his reservation that the government wanted to defer the matter into “cold storage” with the formation of a committee.

Entering the discussion, Barrister Aitzaz Ahsan, who was appointed amicus curiae in the case, suggested that the court should give some time to the committee since it is a “sensitive” issue.

The case was then adjourned till December 4.

In October, the top court had directed the federal government to reach a decision concerning GB’s provisional provincial status, in line with the recommendations noted down by a special committee for constitutional and administrative reforms in GB.

As a seven-judge bench headed by Justice Nisar took up 32 cases on the region’s status, a member had put up the question if India could give Kashmir special status by making an amendment in Article 370, then why couldn’t Pakistan follow the example.

The main constitutional petition had been filed by the GB Bar Council through its Vice-Chairman Javed Ahmed, who had highlighted the persecution of citizens in the region.