From a total of 499 cases submitted to the FATA Tribunal, 412 have been disposed, including 216 pending cases from the previous tribunal, according to FATA Tribunal Chairman Shah Wali Khan.
Current cases pending in front of the tribunal include both civil and criminal cases from the Federally Administered Areas (Fata) and Frontier Regions. Over 50% of the cases were registered from Parachinar in Kurram Agency, Bajaur and Khyber agencies, Khan informed.
The tribunal is also trying to work for those people from Fata who are in jails in Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa and across the country.
Lal Nabi, a resident of Khyber Agency, had forwarded his case to the tribunal regarding a dispute he had with Juma Khan in Landikotal over a vehicle. “Juma had taken my truck six years ago; it was my only source of income. I ran from pillar to post to get it back from him, but in vain. Finally when I went to the FATA Tribunal, it resolved my issue,” said a relieved Nabi.
The tribunal directed Nabi to pay Rs0.8 million to Juma which he paid upon receiving his truck.
Similarly, Zainullah, a tribesman from Bajaur Agency, said he had a land dispute with two of his brothers. He claimed the land was grabbed by his siblings to construct a commercial marketplace at the site. Despite a stay order from the agency commissioner, Zainullah’s brothers continued with the construction and even allegedly killed his nephew over the dispute.
The troubled land owner then forwarded his case to the FATA Tribunal, where the issue is currently pending. “If the tribunal does not solve my case, I will lose faith in the country’s justice system,” said Zainullah, adding several tribesmen had told him the tribunal was providing justice.
“After the amendments in the Frontier Crimes Regulations (FCR) in 2011, residents of Fata have the right to bring their cases to the FATA Tribunal,” said FATA Tribunal Chairman Shah Wali Khan. He added earlier there was no time limit for cases to be decided by the tribunal, but now it is bound to decide a case within 90 days.
Khan said if security officials or political administration officials arrest a person for any case, they have to present him in front of the magistrate within 24 hours and the assistant political agent (APA) has to deal with the case within 10 days.
“Before the amendments, the political administration held the culprit’s paternal and maternal family responsible under the collective responsibility clause of the FCR,” said Khan, adding now only the culprit’s paternal family would be held responsible. “Family members who are underage or above 65 years old will be exempted,” he informed.
Earlier, if an accused was found guilty he was sentenced to three years imprisonment, added Khan. However, now the sentence had been reduced to two years and the case inquiry has to be completed within 30 days, he said.
“The APA must now inform the Governor Secretariat and FATA Tribunal about suspects captured during military operations in order to avoid the issue of missing persons or enforced disappearances,” Khan said.
Any accused has the right to appeal to the agency commissioner within 30 days, with the commissioner giving his decision in 90 days. If the inquiry proceeds to the FATA Tribunal, the case will be decided in 90 days, said Khan.
Published in The Express Tribune, July 12th, 2013.