Gilani Being Advised To Violate AJK Constitution19 April 2010
The News International
Islamabad: Prime Minister Yousuf Raza Gilani is being ill advised by his Kashmir Affairs minister and two important players of Azad Kashmir power politics to violate the AJK Constitution. The Constitution binds the prime minister of Pakistan, who is the chairman of the Kashmir Council, to approve the recommendations of the Supreme Judicial Council. Informed sources said AJK President Raja Zulqarnain, President of the ruling Muslim Conference Sardar Atiq Khan and the Federal Minister for Kashmir Affairs Mian Manzoor Watto are trying to influence the prime minister of Pakistan to avoid approving the SJC recommendations to sack AJK deposed chief justice Justice Riaz Akhtar Chaudhry. This group of three is eager to save the skin of the deposed and condemned CJ by allowing the incumbent Acting CJ Justice Manzoor Gillani to continue till his superannuation i.e. June 7, 2010 when the deposed CJ should be brought back again to take charge of the office of the CJ AJK. AJK Prime Minister Raja Farooq Haider, however, is not agreeing to this strange rapprochement and has already pleaded before Prime Minister Gilani to proceed in line with the law and the Constitution. While Prime Minister Gilani is being advised to find a middle way, the AJK Constitution binds him to approve the SJC recommendations, which has already unanimously sought the sacking of AJK CJ Riaz Akhtar Chaudhry. The AJK Constitution says that in case the SJC is of the opinion that the judge should be removed from the office, the Chairman of the council (Prime Minister of Pakistan) “shall advise” the president (of AJK) to remove the judge from his office and the president shall pass orders accordingly. The AJK Supreme Judicial Council has unanimously concluded that the AJK deposed CJ AJK has transgressed and subverted the Constitution by usurping and exercising the jurisdiction not vested in him as chief justice and judge of the Supreme Court and violated the oath of judge which implies complete submission to the Constitution and under the Constitution to the law, he persistently violated the Constitution and the law against the rule of law by not abiding by the law. The SJC also said the CJ also manoeuvred the petition for his own interest through the lawyers who are obliged to him through the favourable court orders for them and their kith for his personal advantage and seditiously subverted the Constitution by holding Azad Jammu and Kashmir as “another country”, thereby compromising the integrity of institution of justice. He has also distorted Quran by misquoting the verse of Holy Quran, thereby impairing and destroying the reverence, respect and confidence due to the holy prophets, amounting to blasphemy. Sources in the AJK government said that certain elements in the ISI are also trying to save the skin of the AJK CJ, who was rewarded by the Musharraf regime for his “services” rendered in his capacity as chief election commissioner during the election of 2006 as a result of which Muslim Conference came into power. Justice Riaz Akhtar was appointed CJ AJK while ignoring his six years senior Justice Manzoor Hussain Gillani. Since 2006 Justice Gillani has been seeking justice on the grounds of his seniority and had also filed a petition before the Supreme Court of Pakistan. On 15th March 2010, the Supreme Court of Pakistan sought from the AJK Council the record of AJK CJ appointment but the CJ AJK, very next day, passed an interim order against the Supreme Court of Pakistan, barred the PM of Pakistan from issuing any order regarding judges appointment in the AJK and declared Kashmir as separate country. This highly objectionable order resulted in filing of a reference by the acting president AJK on the advice of the AJK prime minister against the CJ AJK but the president AJK, who at that time was abroad, upon his return tried to undo the acting president’s order, which led to a serious judicial crisis. Sources said that Mian Manzoor Watto now proposes that Justice Riaz Akhtar should be asked to proceed on leave till the retirement of the incumbent Acting Chief Justice as a way out. However, the prime minister of AJK, speaker legislative assembly, substantial members of the AJK Muslim Conference leaders and almost all bar councils of AJK are not prepared to show any sort of leniency for the condemned CJ AJK. It is believed that if Prime Minister Gilani accedes to the advice of his Kashmir minister, it would lead to a possible agitation in favour of independent judiciary in the AJK. Not only the PML-N Chief Nawaz Sharif but also the President Supreme Court Bar Association Qazi Anwar has supported the AJK prime minister’s stance for the rule of law and Constitution.