PESHAWAR The NWFP Governor on Wednesday promulgated the much talked about Shariah Nizam-e-Adl Regulation (SNAR), 2009, providing for the appointment of qazis (judicial officers) well-versed in Islamic Shariah and restoration of the erstwhile executive magistracy system in the Malakand Division and Kohistan.
The Regulation, termed as key to restoration of durable peace in Swat by the provincial government, replaced the existing Shariah Nizam-e-Adl Regulation, 1999, which had been in vogue in Malakand and some other parts of the Provincially Administered Tribal Areas (PATA).
The SNAR is promulgated under Article 247 of the Constitution after President Asif Ali Zardari gave approval to its summary on Monday last. The Regulation is applicable to PATA of the province except the tribal area adjoining Mansehra district and the former State of Amb.
Regular courts in Swat have already been non-functional since March 17 when the Tehrik-e-Nifaz-e-Shariah-e-Muhammadi`s Chief Maulana Sufi Muhammad ordered them to stop functioning.
The Regulation defines Shariah as the injunction of Islam as laid down in Holy Quran, Sunnah-e-Nabvi, Ijma and Qias (analogy). A qazi or executive magistrate is bound to seek guidance from the said four sources of interpretation of Shariah.
The conduct and character of judicial officer and executive magistrate shall also be in accordance with the Islamic principles. Moreover, all cases shall be decided by the concerned courts in accordance with Shariah.
The Regulation envisages two appellate forums, Dar-ul- dar-ul Qaza and Dar-ul Qaza, which would operate in Malakand Region.
The Dar-ul- dar-ul Qaza would be equivalent to that of the Supreme Court and the Dar-ul Qaza would be similar to the appellate jurisdiction of the high court.
The executive magistrate would be empowered to deal with those cases under the Pakistan Penal Code which were punishable up to three years imprisonment; local and special laws; cases pertaining to breach of peace and public nuisance; and, cases pertaining to deviations of licenses and permits under relevant laws.
Apart from Dar-ul-dar-ul qaza and dar-ul qaza there will be five categories of courts Court of Zila qazi (district and sessions judge); izafi zila qazi (additional district and sessions judge); aala ilaqa qazi (senior civil judge); ilaqa qazi (civil judge); and, executive magistrate.
Just like the 1999 Regulation, the SNAR provides mechanism for mediation between two parties. Subject to mutual consent of the parties, any civil or criminal case may be referred by a court to a musleh (mediator) or musleheen (mediators) before recording of evidence. Cases falling under the Hudood Ordinances or against the state could not be referred to the mediator.
Malakand region includes seven districts — Swat, Buner, Shangla, Chitral, Malakand, Upper and Lower Dir.
The promulgation of the Regulation had been on the cards since last year when its first draft was prepared by the caretaker government and further steps were taken when the coalition government of ANP and PPP was set up in the province after the Feb 18, 2008, general elections.