Ex-Fata to get first child court today

Updated 08 Aug 2020

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A colourful playing area adjacent to the child court in Mohmand. — Dawn
A colourful playing area adjacent to the child court in Mohmand. — Dawn

MOHMAND: The first child protection court in the merged tribal districts will be virtually inaugurated by Peshawar High Court Chief Justice Waqar Ahmad Seth in Ghalanai area here today (Saturday).

Khyber Pakhtunkhwa already has three of the six such courts functioning in the country.

They have been established in Peshawar, Mardan and Abbottabad under the KP Child Protection and Welfare Act, 2010, and Juvenile Justice System Act, 2018.

District and sessions judge Mohammad Amin Kundi told reporters that all arrangements, including civil work and equipment installation, had been finalised for the child protection court’s operationalisation.

PHC CJ to inaugurate Mohmand court online

He said the courtroom and adjoining premises were colourful and had toys for children, video link facility and separate entrances so that the children couldn’t face abusers to prevent further trauma.PHC registrar Khwaja Wajiduddin recently told reporters that the phenomenal success of child protection courts in Peshawar, Mardan and Abbottabad had led to the establishment of a similar court in the erstwhile Fata with an aim to provide justice to the ‘downtrodden and often-neglected children’.

He said eventually, every district would have separate child court.

The first child court was inaugurated in Peshawar by the chief justice on Mar 16, 2019.

The National Judicial Policy Making Committee had also endorsed the initiative of the PHC chief justice in its meeting in June 2019 and decided about the establishment of pilot child courts in every provincial capital in the first place and every district in all provinces afterward.

In Oct 2019, two additional pilot child courts were established in Mardan and Abbottabad districts.

Also, under the JJSA, seven of the eight juvenile justice committees in the country are in KP.

They were notified by the provincial government in consultation with the judiciary in Mardan, Chitral, Peshawar, Haripur, Abbottabad, Bajaur, and Mohmand districts.

The country’s only operational JJC is in Peshawar.

“The results generated by these pilot child courts are extremely positive. This is a tangible way to protect child rights in alignment with JJSA, KPCPWA and other relevant child protection provisions,” said Valerie Khan, the executive director of Group Development Pakistan, an organisation extending support to the high court for the establishment of child courts.

She said the initiative contributed to the enforcement of Pakistan’s international legal obligations under the UN Child Rights Convention and International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights and represented unprecedented milestones for Justice with Children.

Published in Dawn, August 8th, 2020