Thousands of lawyers from across the province attended the provincial convention called by Swat Bar Association to demand for the appointment of judges at Darul Qaza in Malakand Division. Supreme Court Bar Association President Asma Jehangir and Vice Chairperson Latif Afridi also attended the convention.
The 24th day of the consecutive boycott from regular courts was observed by the Swat Bar association who demanded for quick appointment of judges in the Darul Qaza, the Sharia court approved by parliament on April 13, 2009, by President Asif Zardari to fulfill the wishes of the people of Malakand Division.
The Sharia court was inaugurated by Khyber-Pukhtunkhwa Chief Minister Ameer Haider Khan Hoti on February 18, 2011. However, it remains nonfunctional due to the absence of judges.
Addressing the lawyer’s convention, Asma said, “We have always been committed towards law and justice and worked on principle, so we strongly support the lawyers of Swat. If their demands are not fulfilled, the strike will be extended throughout the country.”
Regarding the extra judicial punishments by the military in Swat, she said, “We are totally against extra-judicial killing in any part of the country. Thousands of people arrested by the army should be presented in front of regular courts for trial as this is their genuine right. No extra-judicial killings will be tolerated. Military courts are not acceptable. Arrests and investigations of civilians and innocent people is not the job of the army.”
“I will specially meet with the chief justice in the case of Darul Qaza and will stress for the appointment of judges here so that people of Malakand Division could get justice in their area,” she promised.
Afridi, while addressing the convention, said, “If 150,000 lawyers of the country and 25,000 of K-P can make someone a hero after a struggle of two years, they can just as easily make him zero. We openly announce here that we can struggle against the chief justice and other judges too.”
He further said, “Whether they wish to or not, they have to appoint judges. Constitutionally, Mingora is a circuit bench of Peshawar High Court.”
President Swat Bar Association Asghar Khan thanked the lawyer’s community of K-P. “We are grateful to the provincial and federal government for approving and establishing Darul Qaza in Swat but the stumbling block is to make it functional.”
Peshawar High Court Bar Association Vice Chairperson Mohammad Iqbal Hoti extended his full support to the Swat Bar association and assured them that in three weeks time, judges will be appointed in Darul Qaza. A resolution for the quick appointment of judges was passed in the convention.
Published in The Express Tribune, April 15th, 2011.
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