PESHAWAR: After Mohmand, Bajaur and Kurram, the Peshawar High Court (PHC) has established courts of civil judges at Landikotal and Bara which are functional.
As soon as improvisation is complete, all courts of Khyber district will start functioning according to the long-standing desire of the people of the area, said a press release issued from the office of PHC Registrar Khwaja Wajihuddin.
It added that the courts in North Waziristan were functional in the adjacent Bannu district. The government had marked Government Girls College for the establishment of District Courts at Miranshah.
However, the PHC took a principled decision that neither an educational institution nor health facility would be used as premises to house courts. In Miranshah, there is a Tehsil Building fully equipped and functional. The PHC has asked for the allotment of the Tehsil Building. If the said building along with residences is provided, and security of judicial officers is ensured by the district administration, courts will be shifted there without any delay.
Besides district judiciary in South Waziristan and Orakzai are functioning in Tank and Hangu, respectively alongside the district administration. However, two courts are being established in Tehsil Kalaya of the Orakzai district while district judiciary South Waziristan is still waiting for district administration and police department to move first to ensure security and all other allied services before shifting of courts.
The merger of erstwhile Fata will bear fruit only when judicial services are extended to the hitherto deprived society not in the adjacent districts but in the actually merged districts. The 25th amendment of the Constitution led to the merger of the Fata into the Khyber Pakhtunkhwa province.
A vacuum surfaced after the judicial pronouncement of this court holding certain provisions of Frontier Crimes Regulation, 1901 ultra vires to the Constitution. The Supreme Court of Pakistan upheld the verdict and the government was given a specific time to establish regular courts in the merged districts.
The Home Department notified the place of sitting for the District Judiciary in the adjoining districts and it started functioning from the 11th of March 2019. Judicial officers were posted, recruitment of para-legal staff was started immediately which has largely been concluded.
Although the courts started functioning with makeshift arrangements, nevertheless the degree with which the quantum of institution of cases is increasing correlates with the trust reposed by the downtrodden inhabitants of those districts in this system of adjudications.
Moreover, efforts were made since the functioning of courts in the adjoining districts to shift the judiciary to the newly merged districts. The senior judicial officers had met the KP chief secretary to apprise him of the concerns of the PHC. The district administration has accordingly been approached for allocation of buildings in the newly merged districts for the establishment of courts.