Altaf Hamid Rao,
MIRPU(AJK): “Appointment of judges to the superior judiciary in Azad Jammu Kashmir should be made entirely in line with the procedure, set in the law and constitution of the State”, President District Bar Association Mirpur Abdul Aziz Choudhry Advocate emphatically said.
He was talking to senior journalists in his office chamber here on Saturday. The DBA President was flanked by the Vice President of the Bar Ch. Azhar Advocate, General Secretary Omer Abdul Rehman Advocate and members of the executive committee of the bar including Choudhry Muhammad Hanif Advocate and Choudhry Tariq Mahmood Advocate.
Aziz continued that consent of the chief justices of both the Supreme and High Courts of Azad Jammu Kashmir for the appointment of any judge to the superior judiciary is prerequisite. Elaborating the procedure for appointment of a judge to the superior judiciary of AJK, the DBA underlined that President of Azad Jammu Kashmir can proceed the matter of appointment of any judge to the superior judiciary only if the unanimous recommendation by the Chief Justices of both the apex and high courts of AJK is arrived to this direction – as mentioned in the interim constitution of AJK.
Referring to the recent appointment of five judges of AJK High Court, President DBA said that since the above appointments did not involve the consent of both of the Chief Justices of AJK Supreme and High Courts, these appointments have been challenged in the AJK High Court for allegedly lacking the set procedure mentioned in the law and constitution of Azad Jammu Kashmir. He added that the petition challenging the above appointment of the five judges to the AJKHC has been accepted for regular hearing by the learned High Court. Aziz said that at the same time, the Petition For Leave to Appeal (PLA) against the petition challenging the appointment of above five judges to AJK HC has been filed in the Supreme Court of Azad Jammu Kashmir.
Ch. Aziz Advocate pointed out that the matter of appointment of the judges to the superior judiciary of AJK can not be forwarded to the President of the AJK State if both Chief Justices of the Superior judiciary of AJK Supreme and High Court are not unanimous and agreed upon the induction.
Paying rich tributes to the heroic struggle of the people of Jammu and Kashmir for freedom of occupied Jammu Kashmir from the long Indian subjugation, the DBA President called for immediate peaceful settlement of the Kashmir issue under UN resolutions granting opportunity of the Jammu Kashmir people belonging to all parts of the state to decide about their destiny under the spirit of the international norms and commitments. He said that Kashmir is not a territorial dispute. Rather it involved the fate of over 16 million people of the internationally-acknowledged disputed Himalayan sate, he added. He vehemently condemned the increased human rights abuses in occupied Jammu Kashmir at the hands of the Indian occupying forces. He called upon the international community and human rights organizations to immediately move for getting the Indian brutalities stopped in the bleeding vale of Kashmir, which, he underlined, has latterly been turned into a hell.
Referring to the proposed planning by the local authorities for launching a grand operation for removal of encroachments on the places of public utilization and the state-owned land comprising over 545 residential and commercial plots allotted by Mirpur Municipal Corporation in Mirpur city, on the orders of AJK Supreme Court, the DBA President said that primarily the officials of the Municipality including former Mayors, Chairmen, Estate Officers and other senior officials should be taken to task for making the allotments on such lands denying the stipulated rules and regulations before launching operation for removal of the encroachments, he urged.
He said that the DBA was very much in favor of the restoration of Mirpur city according to the master plan on the orders of the apex court of AJK. “But how those allottees could be held responsible for such encroachments who were allotted and transferred the plots by the competent authorities of the Municipality, in this city of over a million of UK-based Kashmiri expatriates, he questioned. He concluded the officials responsible of abusing the master plan of this scenic lake city located at the periphery of Mangla dam for the nourishment of their vested monetary interests, should be brought to justice through their open trial in the courts of law for misusing their powers during the course of allotments or transfers of the plots, he urged.