PESHAWAR: In a first, lower courts virtually heard criminal cases here on Friday on an experimental basis.

According to an official statement, 20 prisoners of the Peshawar Central Prison, including under-trials as well as those on judicial remand, were produced before Peshawar district and sessions judge Ashfaq Taj and judicial magistrate Hassan Mehboob via a video link.

The district judge had decided earlier in the month to start trials and other proceedings via a video link to address issues regarding the movement of prisoners to the courts and security arrangements for them.

Over average, 300 prisoners are taken to the Judicial Complex daily to attend hearings into their cases forcing the prison authorities to make foolproof security for them on the way to and from the jail.

Peshawar courts hold proceedings against 20 prisoners via video link

District judge Ashfaq Taj said the video-link facility was available to all courts falling under the administrative control of the sessions court of Peshawar, including those of 20 additional sessions judges, 10 judicial magistrates, six family court judges and the child protection and juvenile court.

He said the facility was being used for recording statements of witnesses belonging to the remote districts of the province.

“A committee has already been constituted for setting up at least 30 video-link booths in the central prison after which almost all prisoners will be virtually produced before the court. The initiative will have positive impact on the administrative, financial and security arrangements.

A relevant official told Dawn that there was a lot of hassle in the shifting of prisoners in large number to the nearby Judicial Complex.

“To avoid any untoward incident, the prisoners were taken to courts in batches, which also resulted in delay in conducting proceedings in different cases,” he said.

The official said under-trials as well as prisoners on judicial remand had regularly been produced before the courts of law.

He added that the virtual production of prisoners had been started on an experimental basis and during the trial period, the relevant officials would see if there was any shortcoming in the entire exercise.

“A separate video-link booth will be set up in the prison for juvenile offenders so as to prevent their mixing up with adult prisoners,” he said.

LAWYERS STRIKE: The lawyers on Friday observed a strike across Khyber Pakhtunkhwa against the killing of their community member, Saleem Khan, in Swat on Oct 19.

The call for strike was given by the Khyber Pakhtunkhwa Bar Council asking all their members to boycott courts.

Lawyers mostly stayed away from proceedings before different courts, including the Peshawar High Court.

In a statement issued here, KP Bar Council vice-chairman Mohammad Ali Khan Jadoon and its executive committee’s chairman, Mohammad Ilyas Khan, said the killing of a senior lawyer was negligence on part of the police in Swat.

While resenting the murder of lawyer Saleem Khan, they demanded of the federal government to enact the proposed Lawyers Protection Act at the earliest.

Meanwhile, PHC Bar Association general secretary Farooq Khan Afridi and senior lawyers Ishaq Ali Qazi, Danyal Asad Chamkani, Mubashir Ali Khan, Nauman Kakakhel, Yasir Khattak, Amjid Hussain Tanoli and others condemned the incident and demanded that the killers should be awarded exemplary punishment.

It merits a mention that the police in Swat district arrested three of the suspects after the murder claiming that the incident was an outcome of personal enmity.

Published in Dawn, October 22nd, 2022

Opinion

Editorial

More pledges
Updated 25 May, 2024

More pledges

There needs to be continuity in economic policies, while development must be focused on bringing prosperity to the masses.
Pemra overreach
25 May, 2024

Pemra overreach

IT seems, at best, a misguided measure and, at worst, an attempt to abuse regulatory power to silence the media. A...
Enduring threat
25 May, 2024

Enduring threat

THE death this week of journalist Nasrullah Gadani, who succumbed to injuries after being attacked by gunmen, is yet...
IMF’s unease
Updated 24 May, 2024

IMF’s unease

It is clear that the next phase of economic stabilisation will be very tough for most of the population.
Belated recognition
24 May, 2024

Belated recognition

WITH Wednesday’s announcement by three European states that they intend to recognise Palestine as a state later...
App for GBV survivors
24 May, 2024

App for GBV survivors

GENDER-based violence is caught between two worlds: one sees it as a crime, the other as ‘convention’. The ...