April 23, 2024
Ministry of Kashmir Affairs and Gilgit-Baltistan

Ministry of Kashmir Affairs and Gilgit-Baltistan

Navigating Constitutional Norms and Governance in AJK’s Asset Transfer Controversy

This situation highlights the ongoing challenges in governance and administration within the AJK region, particularly in terms of balancing power between local and federal authorities

The concerns raised by the six elected members of the Azad Jammu and Kashmir (AJK) Council center around a recent decision by the Ministry of Kashmir Affairs and Gilgit-Baltistan (KAGB) to transfer the council’s assets to the AJK government. These members argue that the transfer process did not adhere to the constitutional and legal frameworks that govern the council and the AJK region.

The AJK Council, established under the interim Constitution of 1974, was intended to act as a liaison between the governments of Muzaffarabad (AJK’s capital) and Islamabad (Pakistan’s capital). Over the years, it gained significant administrative, legislative, and financial powers, which some critics saw as creating a parallel governance structure without proper accountability.

In an effort to address these concerns, the 13th constitutional amendment in June 2018 significantly curtailed the council’s powers, transferring many of its functions to the AJK government. This amendment was aimed at increasing transparency and reducing corruption, particularly in the council’s development projects.

The recent transfer of assets, including employee reassignments and the shifting of investment funds and property management to the AJK government, has been seen by the elected council members as flawed. They argue that the process was carried out without proper consultation and in violation of the governing laws and rules, specifically pointing out that the notifications for these actions should have been issued by the council itself, not the Ministry of Kashmir Affairs and Gilgit-Baltistan (KAGB).

Additionally, the members raised issues about the retention of certain properties by the KAGB ministry and the provision of accommodations to high-ranking Pakistani officials, which they see as contrary to legal stipulations. They argue that these actions not only disregard the legal framework but also fail to serve the interests of the common people of AJK.

The elected members’ letter to the AJK premier underscores their demand for a more inclusive and transparent process that respects the constitutional and legal boundaries. They are calling for a review of the asset transfer process, particularly the handling of the Jammu Kashmir State Property, which they believe should be under the AJK government’s control.

This situation highlights the ongoing challenges in governance and administration within the AJK region, particularly in terms of balancing power between local and federal authorities, ensuring accountability, and meeting the needs of the local population.

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