Charsadda district’s very own dispute resolution council (DRC) was officially launched at a ceremony on Friday in Shabqadar. The councils are being set up across the province on the directives of IGP Nasir Durrani.
The district’s DRC was introduced at a ceremony held at the IGP’s office. During the ceremony, the new council resolved four disputes from Shabqadar.
The aim of the new forum is to enable local jirgas to resolve minor disputes swiftly.
The province has been plagued by militancy and unrest and the police force has concentrated its resources on dealing with this menace. Thus, it has not been able to address the ever-increasing crime rate, sub-divisional police officer Shabqadar Abdul Rasheed told The Express Tribune.
According to Rasheed, the council will ease the burden on the police and judiciary and prevent the waste of time and resources on petty disputes.
“Militancy has diverted the attention of the police away from other issues,” said Rasheed.
He added, “The police force cannot tackle all disputes. Some minor disputes are blown out of proportion and can only be resolved through local customs.”
The DRC will be set up at all police stations on a tehsil and district level. They will comprise 21 members who will be selected on the basis of their experience in effectively resolving disputes through jirgas.
While the DRC has not been granted legal status by the government, the venture will be supported by the police, Rasheed explained.
The way forward
According to Shehreyar Khan, a social activist who has been appointed as the chairman of the DRC in Shabqadar, his council has received 30 applications over the past 20 days and the council has already managed to resolve four cases. Khan cited the case of a land dispute which had been extended for over 30 years but was resolved by the council in 20 days.
Nearly 11 cases are in the process of being resolved whereas 13 are pending and two have been rejected, he added.
“All members are volunteers and do not receive a salary from the government,” the DRC chairman said.
A tribal elder and DRC member, Malak Rahat Sher, lauded the DRC and urged the government to provide it with a legal status to streamline its functions. Without government support, the decisions taken by the DRC would lose credibility, he added.
Another member of the DRC, Hazrat Ali Bacha, welcomed the DRC but demanded a proper legislative regime under which the council members can resolve matters.
Published in The Express Tribune, September 27th, 2014.