In a written order regarding the constitutional status of Gilgit-Baltistan (GB) and the grant of fundamental rights to its citizens, the Supreme Court Thursday ruled that the powers of the top court also extend to the region, adding that no part of the 1973 constitution can be abolished or amended without proper legislation, media reports said. A seven-judge bench headed by outgoing Chief Justice Mian Saqib Nisar issued the order after hearing petitions challenging the vires of the Gilgit-Baltistan Empowerment and Self-Governance Order, 2009, and the Gilgit-Baltistan Order, 2018. The order clarified that no changes will be made to the current state of Gilgit-Baltistan and Kashmir and that the constitutional status of these areas shall be determined through a referendum. It further said that this process should take place within 14 days. “India and Pakistan are responsible for giving more rights to the people of the areas under their control and until the referendum happens, Pakistan is bound to give Gilgit-Baltistan as many rights as possible,” the court ruled. The order pointed out that several administrative offices have already been created in the area under the Gilgit-Baltistan Order, 2018.Published in Daily Times, January 18th 2019.