PESHAWAR: Following the merger of the Federally Administered Tribal Areas with Khyber Pakhtunkhwa, the Peshawar High Court will require the Rs13.869 billion infrastructure and 52 judicial officers to establish regular courts in the erstwhile tribal region, an official document revealed.

A senior staff member of the high court told Dawn that few weeks ago, the court had completed its homework about human resource and infrastructure requirements in case of the merger of Fata with Khyber Pakhtunkhwa and prepared an official document in that regard for the consideration of the provincial government.

According to the said document, which has already been shared with the Khyber Pakhtunkhwa Government, the high court will require setting up of seven judicial complexes at tehsil level at cost of Rs9.528 billion in the seven tribal agencies, which will be called as districts after completion of the merger process.

Similarly, the court has mentioned the requirement to establish seven judicial complexes at the district level at the cost of Rs4.341 billion.

Document shows after merger with KP, erstwhile tribal region will need Rs14bn infrastructure, 52 judicial officers to set up courts

The document titled “HR and Infrastructure Requirements in merger of Fata with Khyber Pakhtunkhwa” provides that the high court would require services of seven district and sessions judges for their appointment to each of the seven agencies, including Kurram, Bajaur, Mohmand, Khyber, South and North Waziristan, and Orakzai.

It added that 14 additional district and sessions judges have to appointed in the seven agencies including three in Mohmand, two each in Kurram, Bajaur, Khyber, South and North Waziristan, and one in Orakzai.

Similarly, the court needs to appoint a senior civil judge in each of the seven agencies, and 24 civil judges including five each in Bajaur and Khyber, four each in Kurram and South Waziristan, three in North Waziristan, two in Orakzai and a single civil judge in Mohmand.

Furthermore, the high court would require appointment of 365 para legal staffers in the sessions court and 458 para legal staffers in the civil courts.

Article 247 (7) of the Constitution provides that neither the Supreme Court nor a High Court shall exercise any jurisdiction under the Constitution in relation to a tribal area, unless Parliament by law otherwise provides.

The parliament has enacted the Supreme Court and High Court (Extension of Jurisdiction to Fata) Act, 2018, in Apr 2018 for extension of jurisdiction of superior courts to Fata.

However, a provision in that law provides that it could only be enforced on such date or dates and in such tribal area or part thereof, as the federal government notifies in the official gazette.

So far, the federal government had not issued any notification for enforcement of the Act in any of the agency in Fata.

Currently, regular courts have not been functioning in Fata and under the Frontier Crimes Regulation the political agents and assistant political agents have been serving as judicial officers in both civil and criminal cases.

An appeal against judgment of the political agent could be filed with the FCR commissioner.

The third and final judicial forum under the FCR is a three-member Fata Tribunal with which a revision petition could be filed against a judgment of the FCR commissioner.

Published in Dawn, May 26th, 2018


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