PESHAWAR: The 28 judicial officers posted to seven merged tribal districts lately as members of district judiciary will begin hearing criminal and civil cases of their respective areas on March 11 (Monday), said Peshawar High Court registrar Khwaja Wajihuddin on Thursday.

“Initially, these judicial officers have to work in the settled districts adjoining tribal districts. With the passage of time and establishment of proper courts in tribal districts, they will start working in that region,” the registrar told a Khyber Pakhtunkhwa Judicial Academy workshop here.

The workshop was part of the four-day training programme for tribal district judicial officers, including seven district and sessions judges, 14 additional district and sessions judges, and seven senior civil judges.

The workshop was held to discuss the merger of tribal districts with Khyber Pakhtunkhwa, related problems, and their solution.

KP Judicial Academy holds training programme for them

The registrar said necessary steps had been taken during the last couple of years for the development of the Khyber Pakhtunkhwa Forensic Science Laboratory.

He said the Punjab Forensic Science Laboratory was a role model for the purpose.

Other speakers highlighted the importance of expeditious disposal of cases by the tribal district judges in accordance with the laws and said the local residents had pinned high hopes in those judges’ performance.

KP Judicial Academy director general Fazal Subhan Khan said the four-day training programme was organised on the high court’s special directives to inform judicial officers about judicial issues of tribal districts.

He said it was encouraging to see most judicial officers hail from tribal districts.

“The biggest challenge related to these districts is their geographic location. I hope that as most judges belong to those areas, they will handle challenges well,” he said.

Dean faculty of the academy Dr Shakil Azam Awan said it was the responsibility of the judiciary to uphold the supremacy of Constitution and laws.

Former lawmaker and former president of the PHC Bar Association Abdul Lateef Afridi, who belongs to Khyber tribal district, said it was a landmark decision to set up regular courts in tribal districts.

He said residents of those districts were mostly aware of the regular judicial system and that establishment of regular courts was in accordance with their wishes.

Mr Afridi said delay in the disposal of cases was a major issue related to the existing judicial system and that the judicial officers posted to tribal districts had to keep in mind that problem.

He added that the judges should strive for timely disposal of cases in accordance with the law.

Former PHC judge Yahya Zahid Gillani said initially, regular courts would face certain problems, especially in relation to documentary evidence and criminal cases.

He said local traditions (rewaj), which were not in conflict with the Constitution and laws, could be used by judicial officers.

Mr Gillani said it was the responsibility of all stakeholders to strive for the success of the regular judicial system in tribal districts.

Finance secretary Shakeel Qadir highlighted the financial issues attached with the setting up of regular courts and the steps taken by the provincial government for them.

DIG police Kareem Khan explained the situation in relation to setting up of proper police system in erstwhile Fata.

Published in Dawn, March 8th, 2019