CM okays over 900 judicial posts for merged districts

Published February 10, 2019
Move to cost govt Rs545m annually. ─ DawnNewsTV
Move to cost govt Rs545m annually. ─ DawnNewsTV

PESHAWAR: Khyber Pakhtunkhwa Chief Minister Mahmood Khan has approved a summary for the creation of 907 judiciary-related posts, including those of 52 judicial officers, for the merged tribal districts, which will cost the government Rs545.7 million annually.

The development comes as the chief secretary sent the summary made by the finance secretary to the chief minister.

The Supreme Court had given six months time to the provincial government on Dec 31 for setting up regular judicial system to and enforcing the country’s regular laws in the region previously called Fata.

The court had upheld a judgment of the Peshawar High Court through which the latter had declared unconstitutional the Fata Interim Governance Regulation (FIGR).

The high court had set a month’s deadline for the government to form regular courts in tribal districts.

Move to cost govt Rs545m annually

However, the Supreme Court extended that time to six months.

Following the passage of the Constitution (Twenty fifth Amendment) Act, 2018, when the erstwhile Fata were merged with Khyber Pakhtunkhwa, the Peshawar High Court had sent a summary to the chief secretary for approval on July 30, 2018, for the establishment of the sessions courts and those of senior civil judges in tribal districts.

The posts to be created include those of seven district and sessions judges and senior civil judges each for tribal districts, 14 additional district and sessions judges, 24 civil judges-cum- judicial magistrates, and other staff members.

In Nov last year, the finance secretary had made certain observations regarding the cost of creating these new posts.

“Finance Department observes that the proposed creation does not fall under the domain of Provincial Government at this stage. However, the same will be considered for the budget 2019-20 subject to a commitment by the Federal Government of additional funds or a review of the NFC award so as to make provision for the additional expenditure,” finance secretary Shakeel Qadir Khan had mentioned.

The federal government later agreed to share the additional financial burden involved in the creation of these posts.

“In our recent discussion with the Federal Government it was agreed that the Provincial Government shall create positions in Fata including those which were awaiting creation in the Federal Government.

“The Federal Government has agreed that the additional burden for creation of the mentioned positions shall be borne by the additional funds (3% of the divisible pool) provided to the provincial government,” the finance secretary wrote in the summary signed by him on Jan 31.

“Notwithstanding the uncertainty in the flow of funds during the current financial year it is imperative that the provincial government create the position mentioned in para-12 of the summary.

In case such positions are filled during the current financial year funds will be provided as a bridge finance through supplementary grant in anticipation of the receipt of funds from the Federal Government,” the summary said.

The KP government had issued a notification on Jan 29 to declare seven merged tribal districts as sessions divisions and thus, paving the way for the setting up of regular courts there.

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

The government also declared seven tribal sub-divisions parts of session divisions of their adjacent districts.

Hassankhel was made part of Peshawar district and sub-division, Dara Adamkhel Kohat’s, Wazir Bannu’s; Bettani Lakki Marwat’s, Drazanda DI Khan’s and Jandola Tank’s.

Published in Dawn, February 10th, 2019

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