PESHAWAR: The Alternative Dispute Resolution (ADR) system has been challenged in the Peshawar High Court (PHC). It is an alternative dispute resolution law to be implemented in the newly merged tribal districts of KP.
The petitioner’s lawyer Fawad Afzal Khan Safi told the court that according to the law in question, the decision-making committee has been given the power and authority where it can take necessary steps regarding any kind of dispute and then the decisions will be applied to them by the court. He argued that there was no need for any such law.
On the other hand, the provincial law minister says that the law will be extended to other districts of KP over the passage of time.
Fawad Afzal said while talking to TNN that after the 25th Constitutional Amendment, when the former Fata was merged with KP, the ‘black law FCR’ met its logical end, which made the people of the tribal districts jubilant. They thought that rather than the Jirga system, now they would be able to resolve their disputes through the judicial system.
Fawad Afzal said that at the end of last year, the provincial government introduced the ADR bill which is not different from the Jirga system. The said bill was passed by the provincial government and was given the shape of proper law.
Fawad Afzal said that the provincial government aims to implement the law only in six tribal districts. “Now the question is that if these laws are for the betterment of people, why these are not extended to other districts of KP?”
The lawyer added, “This is an alternative law exactly like the FCR. The basic reason behind the execution of the law is that the government does not want other people of the tribal districts to get benefit from this law unlike the people of Khyber Pakhtunkhwa.
He raised the question that if the courts will be reached out again for implementation of the decision proposed by the committee, then what is the need to create a system similar to the judicial system of justice?
He said that earlier he had challenged the bill passed in the court but despite the matter being sub judice, the government issued a notification. The court was requested to suspend the implementation of the law until final decision was made about the issue.
Advocate Fawad said that a two-member bench comprising Justice Lal Jan Khattak and Justice Nasir Mahfooz adjourned the hearing of the plea till June 24.
Govt’s stance about ADR
The government has suggested extending the ADR to other districts of the province.
KP Law Minister Fazal Shakoor Khan told TNN that in fact the law is made for the entire province but in our settled areas the police have already set up Dispute Resolution Councils (DRCs) for resolving disputes. And with passage of time, it will also be extended in other districts of the province.
The law minister said that ADR is a law passed unanimously by the Provincial Assembly. It does not entail any outlay against human rights. Rather it has taken this step to reduce the burden on the judiciary and public maintenance.
The minister said that if anyone had any objection about the decision of the reconciliation committee, they are welcome to challenge the decision in the court. Fazal Shakoor Khan said that the people of tribal districts are familiar with the Jirga system. He said now it is difficult for them to get accustomed to the judicial system at once. “That’s why the law of the same nature was brought for them so that they could easily solve their problems without getting into any disputes,” he said.
What is ADR?
On May 20, the KP government issued a statement about a law called the Dispute Resolution Act 2020, shortly put as ADR. The implementation of the ADR is said to be restricted to North Waziristan along with South Waziristan, Kurram, Orakzai, Khyber, Mohmand and Bajaur.
Under the ADR, a reconciliation committee headed by a deputy commissioner will be formed in the tribal districts, which will include assistant commissioners, police officers up to DSP rank, councillors, intelligence officials and tribal elders.
If there is a disagreement between the two parties regarding an issue, the reconciliation committee will hear the arguments of the two parties. According to the ADR, the committee is required to resolve the case within three to six months after which the decision of the committee will be enforced by the local court.