Sardar Masood Khan, President Azad Jammu and Kashmir, has said the 13th Amendment to the AJK’s Interim Constitution Act, 1974, reflects a popular demand and aspirations of the people of Azad Jammu and Kashmir.
The President expressed these views while addressing the inaugural session of the seminar on “Constitutional Reforms 2018”, organized by the Mirpur University of Science and Technology (MUST) at its main campus.
He thanked Prof. Dr. Habib-ur-Rahman, Vice Chancellor MUST for taking this timely initiative to host a full-day seminar on Constitutional Reforms 2018 and inviting some of the best minds and experts on the subject to analyze the constitutional reforms.
He said that the 13th Amendment is a meaningful step towards empowering the State of Azad Jammu and Kashmir, especially the Legislative Assembly and the executive headed by the Prime Minister. He added that the crux of the 13th Amendment is that it has rectified existence of two parallel administrative and financial authorities – the AJK Government and the Azad Jammu and Kashmir Council. This Amendment is an evolutionary process in constitutional reforms and does not compromise the strong bond between Pakistan and Kashmir.
President Masood Khan said that this amendment has been crafted in a manner by which the basic spirit of the constitution has not been tinkered with. Unlike the Indian Constitution – which has massively encroached on the rights of the people of Jammu and Kashmir – this Amendment, does not in any way, affect Pakistan’s stance or that of the people of Jammu and Kashmir on the Kashmir dispute. He denounced the recent attempts of the Indian government for revoking Article 35-A of the Indian Constitution in order to pave the way for changing the demography of the IOK, a move against which is against the basic rights of the people living in an occupied territory.
President Azad Kashmir said that this landmark Amendment has also inserted in the Preamble of the AJK Constitution necessary language that empowers the people of Azad Kashmir to pursue and foster the cause of self-determination under the resolutions passed by the United Nation Commission for India and Pakistan. This, he said, helps, gives us new opportunities and avenues to project the cause of Kashmir in the international community.
Prof. Dr. Mukhtar Ahmad, former Chairman Higher Education Commission in his address commended the university’s initiative for organising a conference of this nature and stimulating academic debate on such pertinent issues. He encouraged furthering collaborations between state and academic institutions towards scholarly research on constitutional matters.
The event was also attended by Zafar Hussain Mirza, Ombudsman AJK; Ambassador Arif Kamal; Prof. Dr. Maqsood Ahmed, Dean Faculty of Arts, Dr. Yaseen Khan, Chairman Department of Law; Ershad Mahmood, senior Journalist and Executive Director Centre for Peace, Development and Reforms; legal experts, academicians, scholars, faculty members and a large number of students.