GILGIT: The magisterial system, recently revived in Gilgit-Baltistan after decades, has started yielding effective results as people seem satisfied with the quick dispensation of justice.
The system was revived by the government this year in an effort to ensure speedy justice to the public.
Nowadays, cases of price hike, black marketing, encroachments, and lesser law and order issues are heard and decided in the courts of deputy commissioners and assistant commissioner, providing quick relief to the people.
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“We have seen a big difference in the delivery of legal services over the past four months,” says Murad Khan, a senior citizen in Gilgit. “You can go to an assistant or deputy commissioner to get immediate relief in any case,” he said.
The executive magisterial powers of deputy and assistant commissioners were abolished under the Local Bodies Ordinance 2002, issued by then president Gen (retd) Pervez Musharraf.
Under the new law, deputy commissioners and assistant commissioners are empowered to hear cases in which the accused could be sentenced for up to three years.
“Many of the powers gained by the judiciary and the police had been given to civil magistrates to regain control over administrative affairs in districts,” said a lawyer.
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According to official statistics in Gilgit, of 10 drug-related cases tried so far, five suspects have been jailed. Meanwhile, 25 people have been sent behind bars under different sections of the Code of Criminal Procedure, while five women have been provided shelter. Another 20 people were sent to jail in cases relating to price control violations.
In 50 land encroachment cases, 40 people have been jailed and 2,600 kanals vacated and restored.
“Normally we get about 500 applications daily,” said Gilgit Assistant Commissioner Khurram Pervaiz.
“I think this is the success of the system,” Pervaiz told The Express Tribune on Tuesday, referring to the volume of cases he has been receiving.
Published in The Express Tribune, December 28th, 2016.
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