UNDP to help set up 14 virtual courts in K-P

Building capacity of judges, staff also part of project


Our Correspondent December 04, 2020

PESHAWAR:

The United Nations Development Programme, along with partner civil society organisations and other international partners will help set up virtual courts, police stations and even train police officers as part of the Amn-o-Insaf (AOI) programme.

This was disclosed during a meeting to review the progress made under the programme. The meeting of AOI’s Annual Progress Review Board (PRB) was co chaired by Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa (K-P) Additional Chief Secretary Shakeel Khan and UNDP Pakistan Resident Representative (a.i.) Aliona Niculita. It was attended by representatives from the K-P Home Department, police, prosecution department, economic affairs division, K-P Bar Council and donors including the Bureau of International Narcotics and Law Enforcement Affairs (INL) and the Japanese government.

UNDP AOI Manager Jakhongir Khaydarov gave a detailed presentation on what the programme delivered during 2020. He said that they had helped digitise case file record, adding that a next phase of the project is anticipated.

Moreover, he said that throughout the year, AOI worked on building the capacity of judges and court staff where the UNDP provided the necessary institutional support to courts in NMTDs for their functionality. The project will continue next year as well.

He added that UNDP will support the Peshawar High Court (PHC) to establish 14 virtual courts across the province.

Despite the restrictions imposed due to Covid-19, Khaydarov they spread awareness amongst 6,731 people, including 2,204 women, about their legal rights under a campaign in the NTMDs. Under the programme, law libraries and bar room furniture were provided to three bar associations in Khyber, Mohmand and Bajaur districts apart from a digitised office of the bar council’s record room.

Khaydarov further highlighted that a Joint Police Training Centre has been built in Nowshera under an INL Pakistan-funded programme. Some $1.6 million which were saved in the project are being used to build additional facilities. This is expected to be completed in 2021.

Looking forward to the next year, Khaydarov said that they aim to build five model police stations in the NMTDs with support from the Japanese government. They will also help the K-P police train some 500 police personnel in NMTDs.

Moreover, four training centres to eradicate poppy cultivation will be constructed in K-P with funding from the INL.

During the meeting, Niculita said that despite the challenges created by the novel coronavirus (Covid-19) pandemic, the programme has been able to achieve its outputs and make significant progress in 2020.

The UNDP representative added that under the programme, they worked on strengthening justice institutions and citizen rights as well as deepening ongoing efforts to secure peace and stability in the country.

Shakeel said rule of law in the development sector is a new area for international assistance and the UNDP AOI is the flag-bearer to attract more international support in the area.

“What makes this programme unique is that it is a good blend of soft activities with infrastructural support,” he said, mentioning the importance of the sector to K-P and the significance of development efforts in the newly-merged tribal districts (NMTDs).

He offered support of the provincial planning and development department to take the work further.

Published in The Express Tribune, December 4th, 2020.

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