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Legal Challenge Filed Against the Appointment of Retired General Hidayat Rahman as Chairman of AJK Public Service Commission

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Muzaffarabad, Azad KashmirAzadi Times: In a noteworthy development, the appointment of Retired Lieutenant General (R) Hidayat Rahman as the Chairman of the Azad Jammu and Kashmir (AJK) Public Service Commission has been challenged in the Supreme Court of Azad Jammu and Kashmir.

The Chief Justice of the Supreme Court has issued notices to both parties, seeking clarification within a week.

Renowned senior journalist Haris Qadeer, hailing from Rawalakot, filed the petition, and the case is being pursued by Advocate Syed Zulqarnain Naqvi. The petitioner contends that appointing non-state subjects as the Chairman of the AJK Public Service Commission is not permissible, and being a state subject is a prerequisite for this position.

Chief Justice Raja Sadaqat remarked that being a state subject is necessary for the appointment of the Chairman of the AJK Public Service Commission; however, holding state subject status is not mandatory.

The petitioner’s counsel argued that proof of being a state subject can be established through a state subject certificate, and there is no record at the Services and General Administration Department regarding the state subject status of the appointed Chairman.

Chief Justice Raja Sadaqat has given a week’s time for both parties to provide clarifications. It is pertinent to note that Lieutenant General (R) Hidayat Rahman was appointed as the Chairman of the AJK Public Service Commission by the Azad government on January 13, 2024. He is the first three-star general from Gilgit-Baltistan and holds significance given the historical context of the region’s disputed status.

It should be highlighted that over the past several decades, the state subject rule in Gilgit-Baltistan has been suspended, and the Pakistan Citizenship Act has been enforced, raising concerns about demographic changes and allegations of land grabbing against non-local individuals.

The outcome of this case will also determine whether residents of Gilgit-Baltistan can be considered citizens of the state of Jammu and Kashmir despite the absence of a state subject rule.

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