WASHINGTON, July 17: NWFP Chief Minister Akram Khan Durrani has said that he will accept any decision the Supreme Court of Pakistan may take about the controversial Hasba bill, denying reports that he vowed to “wreak havoc” if his democratically elected government was toppled.

“We live in a country and we accept the courts of that country,” said Mr Durrani while talking to Dawn in Washington.

“Do you think we will declare war on the government? No, we are all law-abiding citizens.”

The NWFP chief minister, who is visiting Washington at the invitation of a Christian inter-faith group called Group for Global Engagement, said the MMA had always respected “the laws and courts of Pakistan and we will continue to do so.”

“Even if the court rejects the Hasba bill?” he was asked. “Whatever decision the Supreme Court takes, we will accept it,” he replied.

Mr Durrani also rejected claims that if made into a law, the Hasba Act would lead to the creation of parallel police and judicial systems in Pakistan.

“There is no such proposal in the Hasba bill. People given the task of implementing this bill will have no judicial power,” he said.

Mr Durrani said the NWFP government does not plan to recruit a new force to implement this proposed law. “We will take people from the present police force. There will be no new recruitment.”

“But you also say that our police are corrupt, if you give such sweeping powers to the same police will they not make life miserable for the ordinary people,” he was asked. “No, because there are no sweeping powers in the Hasba bill,” he responded.

Mr Durrani said people chosen to implement the Hasba bill will only have the power to recommend whatever action they deem necessary against an official or a politician they think is corrupt.

“And who will take that action?” he was asked. “The courts,” he said. “The recommendation will be sent to the courts which may accept or reject it.”

“Does it mean that you will create special Hasba courts?” “No, there will be no special courts. All recommendations will go to the existing courts and they will make the final decision.”

He said the MMA government was only trying to strengthen the jirga system that already exists in Pashtoon society, “we are not doing anything new.”

“But the jirgas have judicial powers,” he was reminded. “Only in the tribal areas, not in the settled areas,” he said.

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