Talk about secession in POK, get barred from contesting elections

Bharti Jasrotia


Believe it or not, but anyone who talks about succession of Pakistan occupied Kashmir (POK) from Pakistan is barred from contesting elections in Pakistan Occupied Kashmir (POK) by the government of Pakistan.

This is not temporary arrangement but an important feature of the Pakistan Occupied Kashmir (POK) Interim Constitution Act, 1974.According to this Act, Pakistan Occupied Kashmir (POK) can have a government through ballot but this government remains sub servant to the interest of the Kashmir affairs ministry Kashmir council and to the directly appointed officers from Pakistan.

This Interim Government Act was imposed by the government of Pakistan on the people of Pakistan Occupied Kashmir (POK) by the government of Pakistan without even seeking an ordinary approval from the parliament of Pakistan Occupied Kashmir (POK). This is in complete contrast to constitutional independence enjoyed by people of Jammu and Kashmir where, they not only question the accession of Jammu and Kashmir with India yet contrast elections and even get elected to the highest seat of power.

No one is super imposed on the government of Jammu and Kashmir. This is not so in Pakistan Occupied Kashmir (POK) and is now being openly resented by the permanent residence of Pakistan Occupied Jammu and Kashmir. They are up in arms against government of Pakistan for its deliberate refusal to amend “POK Interim Act 1974” through which Ministry of Kashmir Affairs and Kashmir Council headed by Prime Minister of Pakistan remote controls elected governments there.

According to Facebook posts of multi-party conference organized by United Kashmir Peoples National Party and Awami Workers party, locals in Pakistan Occupied Kashmir (POK) are openly saying that the present AJK Interim Constitution Act 1974 is unjust law which is giving all authorities to the Kashmir Affairs Ministry, Kashmir Council and to the direct appointed officers from Pakistan. The officers of Pakistan Occupied Kashmir (POK) have no relevance in the administrative set-up of POK.

Pakistan Occupied Jammu and Kashmir is governed through the Ministry of Kashmir Affairs and Kashmir Council headed by Prime Minister of Pakistan. Pakistan officials dominate the Kashmir Council. Chief Secretary, the Inspector-General of Police, the Accountant-General and the Finance Secretary are all from Pakistan. 1974 Interim Constitutional act forbids any political activity that is not in accordance with the doctrine of Jammu and Kashmir’s purported accession with Pakistan.

For the sake of consumption of people across the globe, people of Kashmir have right to elect their representatives democratically but theses representatives cannot exercise powers that they are supposed to have once people elect them. All powers are consolidated with Kashmir Council which is governed from Pakistan. What makes this tale interesting is the fact that Pakistan talks about United Nations having declared Kashmir as a disputed territory between India and Pakistan but forgets the same when it comes to securing the rights of people of Pakistan Occupied Kashmir (POK).

It supports right of self determination when it comes to Kashmir but forgets the same in the part controlled by it. The situation is very much contradictory with all pledges, commitments made by the Pakistan on different international forums. Nationalist political parties and progressive individuals in Pakistan Occupied Kashmir (POK), who believe the restoration of complete independent state of Jammu and Kashmir, are not allowed to take part in election process under this act.

The section 4(7-(2)) of this interim act restricts all those people who participate in political activity and does not believe in accession with Pakistan from participating in elections in Pakistan Occupied Kashmir (POK). This section violates the right of self-determination and other fundamental human rights of people of Pakistan Occupied Jammu and Kashmir. Without getting changes in this Act, people of Kashmir cannot get their political, social and economical rights.

The local leadership of Pakistan Occupied Kashmir (POK) has been for long demanding amendments in Interim Constitution Act 1974.  It has been openly saying that present laws implemented in POK and Gilgit-Baltistan, are not representing the right of people of Kashmir and Gilgit Baltistan. The people of both regions are still facing colonial system and that there is no democracy. There is also demand that there is need to restore the historical unification of both territories of POK and Gilgit-Baltistan by forming new constitutional assembly along with democratic constitution which represents and guarantees basic rights of the people of Kashmir and Gilgit Baltistan in real sense.

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