Power and Authority the Case of Azad Kashmir Council’s Devolution

Power and Authority the most vital aspect of political organization has been used interchangeably in political debates but they are two different scenarios in practice. Power is the way people are influenced mainly through physical means or resources and no organization can do its duty or implement its decisions without power. In a democratic theory Robert Dahl defined power as a type of relationship in respect of capability and control; the one who has capability to control is powerful. Authority is more dependent on legislature where in democratic system authority deals with governance through rules and regulation. Azad Kashmir council was an authoritative bridge between Pakistan government and AJK government with economic and legislative powers.

Pakistan government has control over the AJK state unlike any other of its four provinces through 1974 Act in which Azad Kashmir Council was given supreme powers over AJK legislative assembly with the help of economic resources and legislations. There is no board of revenue in Azad Kashmir, financial matters and development projects were under the control of Azad Kashmir council until recently when in the last days of PMLN government, they passed 13th amendment calling for devolution of Azad Kashmir Council. The Council now owns an advisory role posing concerns about how it will impact the state and its relationship with Pakistan.

Economic power is the one of the most important under discussion on international front whether it is FATF restriction on Pakistan or sanctions on Iran. This widely used tool to influence the decision of states at international level has been given to legislative assembly of Azad Kashmir. There will be no control over the use of the AJK budgetary resources and policy initiative by Pakistan. The ministers in legislative assembly are empowered to use funds on their desired projects but it is not the way to freedom of state rather freedom of resources.

The political leadership is free to use resources for their politically motivated projects now. It is witnessed by history that whenever the government in Pakistan changed the AJK state government was always turned down. The ruling party in Pakistan was always influencing the government of Azad Jammu and Kashmir and the way to influence was through Azad Kashmir Council. This is also a known fact and as mentioned above the council had economic power which might be the tool to change the legislative assembly. Under this scenario the devolution of Azad Kashmir Council is constructive step for democracy and to strengthen legislative assembly of AJK but the political use of resource with weak audit can cause serious consequences.

The use of resources and development projects will strengthen the PMLN political support in Azad Kashmir which can cause political agitation by opposing parties. There are certain important controls under Pakistani government such as appointment of chief election commissioner, chief auditors and judges of apex court etc. which can be used as a stronger tool to curb the gap of lost power. The PTI government in Pakistan came as party against corruption which can extend its narrative towards the state of Azad Jammu and Kashmir. The important department heads enjoy authority which is more powerful in Pakistan than physical or economic powers. Pakistan government though named 13th amendment as final step for the freedom of Azad Kashmir but in reality the state is still under strict control of Pakistan.

The control of Pakistan over Azad Kashmir was never opposed by majority because the situation of Pakistani nation is same as that of Kashmiri. Political Pundits in Pakistan have done too much with their own nation without getting questioned which is adoptive in AJK as normal. The fear of some for the 13th amendment as a wake of nationalist vision in Azad Kashmir has no ground reality. The political control of Pakistan on the state is worry of political parties and every other thing is a constant because powerful ever is Pakistan.

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