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Reforms committee proposes extension of SC, PHC jurisdiction to Fata

PESHAWAR: The Fata Reforms Committee has proposed extension of jurisdiction of both the Supreme Court of Pakistan (SCP) and Peshawar High Court (PHC) in the Federally Administered Tribal Areas (Fata) under the proposed legal reforms.
This has been mentioned in Chapter 1 of the proposed draft bill. It says the act may be called the “Fata Nizam-e-Adl Act 2016.”
According to section 6 of the act, the Supreme Court and Peshawar High Court shall have jurisdiction in Fata under the Constitution.It was also proposed in the bill that the Frontier Crimes Regulation (FCR) of 1901 should be replaced with Fata Good Governance Regulation Act 2016 and all sections related to collective/vicarious responsibility should be omitted. Instead, an individual shall be made responsible for his own acts.
Under the legal reforms, the courts would be presided by Qazis. It was explained that the government would appoint Qazis in consultation with the Peshawar High Court. Every Qazi would exercise powers as sub-ordinate to the high court.
However, the Qazi was bound to nominate Elders of Council within seven days after receiving a complaint or case. The Qazi would communicate their names to the parties to the dispute.About the civil reference in the court, it said any party to a civil dispute may make an application to the court for decision in accordance with “Riwaj”. It said that objection by a party to any member of the Council of Elders shall be filed within three days of the communication to the partiers.
It said the Qazi shall dispose of the objection by any party within four days after giving the parties an opportunity of being heard. It was proposed that the Qazi shall call the party complained against to file a written reply within seven days after receipt of the application and on receipt of the reply shall forthwith frame the legal and factual issues on which finding of the court is required.
It said the Qazi shall refer the matter to the Council of Elders within two days after receiving the reply. The Council of Elders shall determine the factual issues in accordance with “Riwaj” and submit its findings to the Qazi within 30 days.
It was stated that Qazi shall decide the legal issues, if any, within seven days and pass a decree in accordance with the findings of the Council of Elders or except where the findings are unanimous.
It said an aggrieved person may file an appeal before the high court within 30 days from the date of any decree or sentence passed, or a final order made by the court, or political agent or deputy commissioner as the case may under this act.
However, an aggrieved party may file a review petition within seven days before the high court of the impugned decree or sentence.The Fata Lawyers Forum (FLF) President, Rahim Shah Khan, welcomed the proposed legal reforms and repeal of the FCR.
“Extension of jurisdiction of Supreme Court and Peshawar High Court to Fata was our main demand,” the FLF President told The News on Monday.He said the tribal people are pleased to have the “Riwaj” and Jirga system under the proposed legal reforms. He said the Jirga system should be retained for both civil and criminal matters, whereby the court will appoint a Council of Elders to decide factual issues and announce judgments on the basis of “Riwaj” and the prevailing law in force.
Muhammad Ijaz Mohmand, former President of FLF, called the legal reforms historic, arguing that the people of Fata would get rid of the inhuman FCR system.He also welcomed merger of Fata into Khyer Pakhtunkhwa. “This would bring Fata into mainstream politics and democratic system of the country. The fundamental rights of the people of Fata would also be restored,” he added.



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