PHC issues notice to Federal govt against non-extension of judiciary to tribal areas

PESHAWAR: The Peshawar High Court (PHC) on Tuesday directed the Federal and Khyber Pakhtunkhwa government to submit response to petition against the non-extension of regular courts to Tribal areas, despite the courts’ order. 

The notice was issued by a two-judge bench comprising Chief Justice Waqar Ahmad Seth and Justice Abdul Shakoor while hearing the contempt of court petition filled by a lawyer, Ali Azim Afridi.

He contended that despite the order of the High Court to set up regular courts in all the seven tribal districts, no efforts were made by the federal and provincial government to comply the order. 

Afridi added that the FATA interim governance regulation, 2018 has been declared illegal by the PHC, but still, the area is being governed under it, thus he prayed the court to initiate contempt of court proceedings against the respondents.

After the passage of 25th constitutional amendment for the merger of FATA with Khyber Pakhtunkhwa, the federal government was bound to set up regular courts and extend police laws to tribal areas to provide constitutional and legal justice to the people of the area. 

The petitioner believes that despite the merger, under the Fata regulations, the tribal people are still deprived of their legal and constitutional rights. “In the past, it was the political agents who utilized the judicial and legal authority and now it is the deputy commissioners who are exercising such powers,” Ali Azim argued in the court. 

The Khyber Pakhtunkhwa government, in June, has given approval of setting up regular courts in the newly merged areas of the province. In October, the Supreme Court chief justice Mian Saqib Nisar had also taken suo moto notice of non-extension of judiciary and police to tribal areas.

In a recent development, The registrar of PHC has also issued a notification that PHC has concluded all the arrangements and now waiting for the governments’ notification to set up the courts and sanction the required staff in all the seven tribal districts.