PHC suspends notification issued by Governor KP for tribal districts

PESHAWAR: The Peshawar High Court (PHC) on Monday suspended the Governors’ order regarding the formation of a four-member advisory committee and directed the KP and Federal governor to submit replies in the case till next hearing of the case.

The petition against governor’s exercise of executive powers was filed by a citizen, Javed Iqbal through his lawyer Barrister Shoaib Razaq asking the court to stop the governor from exercising ‘unconstitutional powers’. While arguing in the court the lawyer said that the KP governor has lost all powers over tribal districts after the passage of the 25th constitutional amendment therefore, he has no powers to form any advisory committee or issue any notification regarding tribal districts.

Governor Shah Farman has issued an order for the formation of a four-member advisory committee to advise the provincial government on the formation of policies for the tribal districts in accordance with tribal customs and traditions. The 25th constitutional amendment and elimination of section 247 which led to the abolishment of Frontier Crime Regulation (FCR) and the tribal districts came under the province. Thus, the lawyer added, the Chief Minister as the Chief Executive of the province, to exercise authority over tribal districts, while the governor will act only as a ceremonial head.

But, the lawyer said, the Governor was still treating the tribal districts as former federally administered Tribal Areas.

The petition was heard by a two-judge bench of PHC comprising justice Ikramullah Khan and Justice Muhammad Ibrahim and after the initial arguments by the lawyer, ordered the suspension of the governor’s notification. The bench also sought replies from the Federal as well as the provincial government of Khyber Pakhtunkhwa.

The petitioner in petition said that the tribal districts have now been merged into the KP hence the governor was no more entitled to form a committee to look after tribal issues. The governor had notified formation of a four-member committee on February 7.

A notification released by the governor revealed that former Ambassadors to Afghanistan Rustam Shah Mohmand, Mir Laiq Shah and Sangi Marjan are members of the board. The committee was tasked with garnering recommendations regarding the jirga system, tribal traditions, and other matters from the district elders. Governor KP Shah Farman on Feb 7 had constituted a three-member advisory board.

The notification further read that the board will propose a comprehensive dispute resolution mechanism to resolve civil and criminal disputes in accordance with local customs and tradition. It further stated that the advisory will communicate with the government and address issues emerging out of the merger between K-P and the tribal districts.

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