Pakistan: Pro-Taliban militants set up Sharia courts in tribal area
Khar, 7 July (AKI/DAWN) – Pro-Taliban militants in Pakistan have established Sharia or Islamic courts in the Bajaur tribal region which borders Afghanistan.
A large number of people are believed to be waiting to use the courts established by the Tehrik-i-Taliban Pakistan in order to resolve disputes instead of waiting for action by the tribal administration.
The courts have been functioning for a couple of weeks in the Sewai area, about 20 kilometres northwest of Khar, the regional headquarters of Bajaur tribal region.
About two dozen ulema or Muslim legal scholars have been designated as Qazis or judges ruling in accordance with Sharia or Islamic religious law.
“We have set up the courts in accordance with people’s wishes,” said Taliban spokesman Maulvi Umar, adding that people were fed up with the previous legal system.
He said that the Qazis were “competent scholars well versed in Islamic jurisprudence”.
According to a report on the Pakistani daily Dawn, people were seen going to courts with issues relating to monetary matters and land and family disputes, and women bringing complaints about ill-treatment by their husbands.
Some people visiting the court told Dawn that the judicial system under the Frontier Crimes Regulations (FCR) was oppressive and the courts run by the tribal administration were not able to provide them justice.
“The Sharia courts are delivering speedy and cheap justice,” said Umar.
One man said that his dispute, which had been lingering for several years in a tribal administration court, had been decided by the Sharia court in a few days.
Maulvi Umar told journalists that people were approaching these courts voluntarily to get their long-standing disputes settled and the Taliban had not forced any litigant to go to the courts.
He said that inordinate delays in resolving disputes resulted in blood feuds which continued for decades.
“The Sharia courts resolve these disputes speedily and in accordance with Islamic jurisprudence,” he said.