In 1970 the system of adult franchise was adopted and a democratic setup was introduced in Azad Jammu and Kashmir through Azad Jammu and Kashmir Act, 1970. For the first time, the Legislative Assembly, as well as President of Azad Jammu and Kashmir, were also elected on the basis of adult franchise by the people of Azad Jammu and Kashmir, and the refugees of Jammu and Kashmir settled in Pakistan.The presidential system of government worked for about 4 years when, in 1974, the parliamentary system was introduced in AJ&K under the AJ&K interim Constitution Act, 1974, which has undergone about 13 amendments so far. Earlier in 1974, the Assembly consisted of 40 members, elected on the basis of adult franchise and two co-opted lady members, whereas the Assembly now consists of 41 elected Members and 8 co-opted members of which 5 are ladies, Since 1975, the Prime Minister has been elected by the members of legislative Assembly. He is the Chief Executive of the State, whereas the President is the constitutional head under the Interim Constitution Act 1974. Besides Executive and the Legislature, AJammu and Kashmir have an independent Judiciary as well. The Supreme Court, High Court and sub- ordinate courts are present, in addition to many other Courts, established under various laws. The pattern of the State of Azad Jammu and Kashmir is almost the same which is prevailing in Pakistan with the exception that in Azad Jammu and Kashmir there exists a Council with Prime Minister of Pakistan as the Chairman, 6 elected members, 3 ex-officio Members including President AJK (Vice- Chairman of the Council), Prime Minister of AJK or his nominee, Federal Minister for Kashmir Affairs, and 5 Members to be nominated by the Prime Minister of Pakistan from amongst the Federal Ministers and Members of the Parliament. Islam is the State religion of Azad Jammu and Kashmir.
The PML-N dominated joint sitting of the Azad Jammu and Kashmir Legislative Assembly and the AJK Council on Friday June 01, 2018 approved amendments to the AJK Constitution abolishing the council’s administrative and financial powers and reducing it to an advisory body. The process had started when the 13th constitutional amendment bill was tabled by the government in the Legislative Assembly amid objections by the opposition that under section 33 of AJK’s interim constitution, no amendment could be made in sections 31, 33 and 56 without the prior approval of the government of Pakistan.
India on Monday 11 June 2018 lodged a strong protest with Islamabad over any “action to alter the status” of territories illegally occupied by Pakistan in Jammu and Kashmir and asked it to vacate all such areas. It was reacting to the changes to the Azad Jammu and Kashmir Interim Constitution (13th Amendment) Act, 2018, which abolished the AJK Councils’s administrative and financial powers, reducing it to an advisory body.
It was clearly conveyed that the entire state of Jammu and Kashmir, which also includes the “so-called Azad Jammu and Kashmir” is an integral part of India by virtue of its accession in 1947, the Ministry of External Affairs (MEA) said. “Any action to alter the status of any part of the territory under forcible and illegal occupation of Pakistan has no legal basis whatsoever, and is completely unacceptable. Instead of seeking to alter the status of the occupied territories, Pakistan should immediately vacate all areas under its illegal occupation”.
Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz (PML-N) government had introduced the 13th amendment in the interim constitution of AJK on May 31, 2018.
Status: Azad Jammu and Kashmir is the only administrative unit in Pakistan, which has its own Supreme Court.
Read the Interim Constitution