Peshawar High Court Jurisdiction Extended To FATA
The National Assembly Standing Committee on Law and Justice approved the extension of jurisdiction of the Peshawar High Court to the Federally Administered Tribal Areas (FATA).
A meeting of the committee presided over by the Chair Chaudhry Mahmood Bashir Virk considered The Supreme Court and High Court (Extension of Jurisdiction to Federally Administrated Tribal Areas) Bill, 2017.
Under the Bill, the jurisdiction of the Supreme Court and the Peshawar High Court would be extended to FATA, under reforms in the tribal areas.
After detailed deliberations, the committee recommended that the Bill may be passed with amendments, the expression “Islamabad Capital Territory” would be substituted with the “Province of Peshawar” and the expression “Islamabad High Court” would be substituted by “Peshawar High Court Peshawar”.
Soon after the agenda item was presented at the meeting, members of the committee from FATA presented the amendment and complained that it would be cumbersome for citizens of FATA to travel to Islamabad to seek justice.
It was suggested that instead of the Islamabad High Court the jurisdiction of the Peshawar High Court should be extended to FATA, as traveling to Peshawar was comparatively easier.
The committee was also informed that Parliamentarians of FATA had ended their protest sit-in on Oct 9th after the Prime Minister assured them that the jurisdiction of the Peshawar High Court would be extended to FATA.
On the other hand, it was opposed that there was no need to extend the jurisdiction of any court to FATA, as tribal people were proud of their own culture and traditions. “They know how to settle disputes and crimes as well as other issues in FATA.”
The opposition supported the colonial-era Frontier Crimes Regulations (FCR) currently applicable in FATA by saying that the brave and courageous tribes adhered to their traditions that were closer to Islam.
The legislators from FATA informed the meeting that the government had completed an extensive exercise and the people of FATA were eager to join the mainstream like other citizens of Pakistan.
Iqbal Qadri of the MQM-P suggested that if a bench were to be established in FATA, there would be no a conflict of the Peshawar High Court or Islamabad High Court.
The committee approved the amendments to extend the jurisdiction of the Peshawar High Court to FATA.
The amendments would now be forwarded to the Senate Standing Committee on Law and Justice.