PESHAWAR: The Khyber Pakhtunkhwa government on Tuesday issued the long-awaited notification to declare seven tribal districts the sessions divisions and thus, paving the way for setting up regular courts in the region called the Federally Administrated Tribal Areas before its merger with the province.

The notification issued by the home and tribal affairs department under Section 7 of the Code of Criminal Procedure declared seven tribal districts (former Fata agencies) of Khyber, Mohmand, Bajaur, Orakzai, Kurram, North Waziristan and South Waziristan sessions divisions.

The government also declared seven tribal sub-divisions part of the sessions divisions of their adjacent districts. They include Hassankhel as part of Peshawar district, Dara Adamkhel Kohat’s, Wazir Bannu’s, Bettani Lakki Marwat’s, Drazanda DI Khan’s and Jandola Tank’s.

Move paves way for regular courts in erstwhile Fata

After the issuance of the notification, the Peshawar High Court can extend regular courts to tribal districts.

Last year, the high court had asked the government to declare tribal districts session divisions under the CrPC so that regular courts could be extended there.

The Supreme Court recently gave six months time to the provincial government for introducing the country’s regular judicial system and strictly enforcing regular laws in the erstwhile Fata.

It had upheld a Peshawar High Court judgment, which declared the Fata Interim Governance Regulation (FIGR) unconstitutional.

The high court was given a month for setting up regular courts in the erstwhile Fata. However, the apex court later extended that time to six months.

Recently, PHC registrar Khwaja Wajihduddin told reporters that the high court was ready for the extension of regular courts to tribal districts of KP and had completed homework for the purpose.

He also said the court had been awaiting the government’s notification to declare merged districts session divisions and sanction the required posts to establish session and civil courts in the erstwhile Fata.

In a document, the PHC said it would require services of 52 judicial officers in seven tribal districts, including seven district and sessions judges for appointment to every tribal district, 14 additional district and sessions judges, seven senior civil judges, 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.

Also, the appointment of 365 and 458 paralegal staffers will be required in the region’s sessions courts and civil courts, respectively.

Published in Dawn, January 30th, 2019