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September 3, 2018

Hundreds of revision petitions pending at Fata Tribunal


September 3, 2018

PESHAWAR: Hundreds of revision petitions including of the convicted prisoners under Frontier Crimes Regulation are pending before the Fata Tribunal for the last four months without hearing as the tribunal has become dysfunctional due to Fata Interim Governance Regulation, 2018. Around 485 cases are pending with the tribunal, which are simply adjourned by the registrar of the tribunal due to uncertainty whether the tribunal would run or not.

Interestingly, neither the interim regulation has any mention of the Fata Tribunal, nor has it suggested which forum would exercise the revision powers. There is confusion about the status of the Fata Tribunal.

Though the tribunal chairman Sang-i-Marjan Khan and members Hussainzada Khan and Mohammad Atif Nazir are still in service after the Khyber Pakhtunkhwa governor has extended their service for a period of six months on May 22, they have stopped hearing the cases due to uncertain position of the tribunal.

An official said that there is confusion after the Fata Interim Governance Regulation, 2018 as the position of the tribunal is completely ignored in the regulations and thus the chairman and members have stopped hearing of the cases until removal of the confusion whether the tribunal should hear the case or not.

On the other hand, the people from tribal districts have started submission of appeals in the Peshawar High Court (PHC) against the decisions by the political authorities now called tribal district administrations.

However, the fate of 485 cases still hanging in balance as the Fata tribunal was simply adjourning them. Both the lawyers, litigants and prisoners have demanded of the federal government to either issue notification regarding ending of the tribunal or transfer the pending cases to the high court for disposal as these revision petitions are pending there since years.

Qamar Nadeem Afridi, lawyer of Dr Shakil Afridi, told The News that Shakil Afridi's revision petition has also been pending with the tribunal for around four years. On the previous hearing held on August 2, he said, the registrar of the tribunal adjourned Shakil Aftridi case till October 3 as the tribunal is dysfunctional.

Dr Shakil, a Pakistani doctor arrested on the charge of helping the American CIA trace Al Qaeda leader Osama bin Laden through a fake vaccination campaign in Abbottabad, has challenged the upholding of his conviction by the appellate forum of the FCR commissioner for having links with a banned militant outfit.

The FCR commissioner on March 15, 2014, upheld the conviction of Dr Shakil for being linked to a banned militant organisation of Bara tehsil in the then Khyber Agency but reduced his original prison term slapped by the assistant political agent's court from 33 years to 23 years and fine from Rs320,000 to Rs220,000, which he had challenged in the tribunal, but since then the case is pending.

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