Peshawar High Court Chief Justice Tariq Pervez Khan has nominated Justice Ghulam Mohiuddin Malik and Justice Ziauddin Khattak to serve at Darul Qaza in the Malakand division.
The much-awaited announcement was made by NWFP Information Minister Mian Iftikhar Hussain at a press conference on Saturday night.
‘The setting up of Darul Qaza is a landmark decision in the history of Malakand and in accordance with the aspiration of the people of the region,’ he said.
A notification to that effect has been issued by the High Court. Both the judges initially appointed under the Provisional Constitution Order on Dec 13, 2007, have been serving as additional judges of the high court. Last year their services were extended for a year.
‘After we have fulfilled the demand of (TNSM chief) Maulana Sufi Mohammad for making the Darul Qaza functional, he should now fulfil his commitment of impressing upon armed groups to lay down their arms,’ Mr Hussain said.
He warned the militants against indulging in violence after this decision, adding that since the signing of the Swat peace agreement on Feb 16 about 190 violations had been made by the militants.
The minister said the two qazis (judges) had been appointed in accordance with the stipulations made by Sufi Mohammad as well as the Nizam-i-Adl Regulation that their physical appearance and conduct should be in accordance with Sharia.
Section 2(1) (c ) of the regulation defines Darul Qaza as ‘appellate or revisional court’ constituted by the NWFP governor under clause (4) of Article 198 of the Constitution.
Article 198(4) provides that each of the high courts may have benches at such other places as the governor may determine on the advice of the cabinet and in consultation with the chief justice of the high court.
The governor had approved the establishment of a circuit bench of the high court in Malakand division, based in Swat, on April 5, 2007.
However, the circuit bench could not be made functional for want of judges and other officials. At present the Peshawar High Court has circuit benches in Abbottabad and Dera Ismail Khan. According to legal experts, Darul Qaza was a circuit bench of the high court, but its nomenclature had been changed in the Nizam-i-Adl Regulation. Mr Hussain said the regulation empowered only the government to nominate qazis for Darul Qaza. He said that two qazis would be posted in the jurisdiction of every police station. Two qazis will work at the tehsil level. There are 47 police stations and 37 tehsils in the division.