By Waseem Ahmad Shah
Officials said that a summary containing the draft of the Sharai Nizam-i-Adl (Amendment) Regulation of 2008 was sent to the president a few days ago because under Article 246 of the Constitution, the governor needed presidential approval for introducing new laws in the Pata, including the Malakand region.
The previous government had suggested replacing the Nizam-i-Adl Regulation of 1999 with a modified law, the Sharai Nizam-i-Adl Regulation, which also sought replacing the high court’s jurisdiction in Pata with that of the
But the present government has decided to amend the 1999 law.
Officials said that the proposed amendments also came under discussion during talks with militants in Swat and the government promised to enforce the law.
The government has proposed a ‘Sharia bench’ in the high court and called for appointing judicial officers to be called ‘Ilaqa Qazis’ holding an LLM (Sharia) degree or equivalent qualification or having completed a four-month Sharia course from a recognised institution.
According to the summary, a civil case should be decided within six months and a criminal case within three months.
The government has proposed the penalising of investigation officers or law officials found to have acted in violation of the established principles of the Sharia or undermined the course of justice; delayed submission of copy of FIRs to the Qazi concerned or failed to submit charge-sheets to the court concerned within prescribed time.
The proposed amendment also called for setting up a committee headed by a serving or retired judge of the high court to select Qazi assistants and ‘Alim Wakeels’ (scholar lawyers). The lawyers should have the same qualifications as required for a Qazi and they would enjoy the status of advocates in courts to be set up under the new regulation.
The amendments call for referring civil cases to Musleheen (mediators) before the recording of evidence and criminal cases after the recording of evidence.
The amended law will empower the courts to either accept the opinion of the Musleheen or reject it with ‘solid reasons’ and decide a case in accordance with the established principles of the Sharia.
May 17, 2008