MIRPUR (AJK) - “Since the status of Azad Jammu & Kashmir Council, in the light of the United Nations Commission for India and Pakistan (UNCIP) resolutions, was questionable, there is a dire need for introducing the much-awaited constitutional reforms in AJK.

In this connection, necessary amendments in the Interim Act 1974 (the interim constitution of AJK) should immediately be introduced as being urged by the civil society of AJK as well as politicians including several of the members of the AJK Legislative Assembly”. These views were expressed by the speakers at a seminar arranged by Jammu & Kashmir Intellectual Forum here the other day.

Chairman of the forum Justice (r) Abdul Majeed Mallick presided.

“What is the constitutional status of AJK Council in the light of the resolutions of the U.N Commission for India and Pakistan”, was the topic of the meet which was attended by various senior executive members of the Forum besides others.

Speaking on this occasion key speaker - former AJK High Court CJ (r) Abdul Majeed Mallick observed that Pakistan has maintained its stance under its constitution of 1956, 1962 and 1973, presently under article 257, that the Jammu & Kashmir state is not part of Pakistan and its future status is yet to be determined by the people of the State, in exercise of the right of self determination.

 “Likewise, the J & K state is not the part of India “, he continued and maintained that under the Indian Independence Act, the Jammu & Kashmir State, on lapse of paramountcy on August 15, 1947, acquired its status as an independent state.

He recalled that thereafter, when the matter was referred to the United Nations, it was resolved on August 13, 1948 that the area of the State liberated by its people - popularly known as Azad Jammu & Kashmir - shall be governed by the local authorities - the AJK government, under the surveillance on the UN Commission. “On October 4 and 24, 1947, the people of the Jammu & Kashmir state declared the dismissal of the last ruler and constitution of the provisional government representing all the people of the state (all communities and all regions) and claimed its authority on the whole State of Jammu & Kashmir”,  he pointed out.

He stated that the AJK Council formed under Act 1974 was clearly derogatory and in conflict with the UNCIP resolutions and declaration of October 4 and 24, 1947. “A person who was not a citizen of the State of Jammu & Kashmir could not hold and represent public office like member and Chairman of the AJK Council, upper house of the AJK Parliament”, he observed.

He declared that aforesaid constitutional conflict could be resolved by the repeal of the provisions relating to AJK Council in the Interim Act 1974, ‘by amendment of the constitution or by voluntarily resigning and separating by the Chairman and nominated members of the Council’.

Other speakers including Advocate Ch Munir Hussain, PPP (Shaheed Bhutto) AJK chapter President, senior academician Raja Khalid Akber and Engr Tariq Mallick also called for immediate introduction of the much-needed amendments in the interim constitution of AJK to ensure more empowerment of the AJK government to run the administrative affairs in a smooth environment.