Delayed justice in NMD’s forced people towards old Jirga system

Murad Khan

GHALANAI: After FATA merger in 2018, on one side the people of tribal districts got the basic right of vote, access to appeal and they are now free from FCR (Frontier Crimes Regulation) which was known by the name of black law by majority segments of society, but on the other side majority People are of the view that due to Extension of judiciary and police to tribal districts the routine activities got complicated, so instead of giving ease to the general public, they are facing complexity in many forms.

They are of the view that although due to FATA merger we got many facilities like services of Rescue 1122 and so around 30 other departments at their doorstep, but on the other hand, the process got complicated, because before FATA merger the Jirga system was dissolving our routine matters in days, but now in the presence of police system and extension of judiciary, to solve a problem, we have to wait for months.

A 27 years old Siraj Khan belonging to Halimzai Tehsil of Mohmand District (who is disabled/special person and a shopkeeper by profession) narrated his story about the judiciary and jirga system “My Father’s name and D.O.B (Bate of Birth) was written wrong in my Matric DMC(Detail Marks Certificate), this was a clerical mistake by BISE (Board of intermediate and Secondary Education) Peshawar, to correct this mistake I have filed a case in BISE Peshawar before FATA Merger, 4 to 5 times I have been heard by a Jirga in board (A kind of special Jirga, which has been made for the solution of all the matters of peoples belonging to Tribal districts, as there were no extension of court in those districts). But after the FATA merger in2018, that special Jirga of BISE told me that you have to do a court degree, as now the courts have been set up in tribal districts. When I applied for a court degree, it took eleven months.

The court hearings were very much pathetic for me, my family and for my teachers as well, because so many times they have to appear in court before the judge.”Mr. Siraj said that in my opinion the court system is very good because there is no discrimination of the poor and rich, as happened in the Jirga system, but on the other hand it takes very much time.

A 56 years old politician Malik Nisar Khan belongs to KozGandahar area of Tehsil Halimzai in Mohmand Tribal District says “I am not happy with the police and Judiciary system in Mohmand Tribal District and I will prefer the old Jirga system for eradication of crimes, as the crime rate has been increased with this system.” In Olden days there was a Jirga system, which took huge fines from criminals and even they decided to take away a criminal from his territory (Kashonda), so an example was made for the other people, as they did not commit crimes due to the huge fines and hard obligations, but now the criminals either gain bail from the court, or they use money in the police station, that’s why the crime rate has been increased, I think this is not failure of police system, basically this is failure of our constitution, which ultimately gives freedom to the criminals’ Citing an example of a drug dealer he said that a drug dealer was caught by police with drug (Afeen or ????? in urdu and ????? in Pashto), but he was released by the court saying that the evidences were not sufficient against him and there were video proofs against him, I think there should be exemplary punishments and penalties against these kinds of criminals in our constitution, so this is the only way to get rid of our society from these crimes.” He added.

A 46 years old Gul khan Kaka, (who is a radio broadcaster) said that there is a huge difference in policing in Mohmand and in settled districts of Khyber Pakhtunkhwa, because in Mohmand, the people are not familiar with the new police system, they are acting in the old manner like they are still in Black Law of FCR (Frontier Crimes Regulation). The police of this area also have some shortcomings, as they are visiting the main cities and villages, as police do in other districts.

Gul Khan kaka basically belongs to Swabi District, but he has lived here in Mohmand from the last thirty years. Sharing his both experiences he said that I have seen all the three eras of Khasadar, Levies and police in Mohmand, in other districts the police persons have frequent visits ( Gasht in local Language) for minimizing different crimes like ban on riding pillion, raid against criminals and drugs, but here in Mohmand District I don’t see any kind of such activities, even in district headquarter Ghallani Bazar there is limited traffic police, so how can a man think what will be the situation of other Far-flung areas of the district. In other settled districts a responsible traffic official is always present on every crossing (chowk) and round-about, but in Mohmand District there are traffic problems on under construction main Mohmand-Bajure road and in main bazaars also.

He added that there is limited police stations and the people of the area are not aware of the new policing, they don’t know, how to use these police stations for securing their rights, they don’t know the laws, that’s why majority of them are of the view that the old FCR system was good for them, because all of their problems were solved under one umbrella of the political system.

“Personally I feel that a change should be introduced in the thinking of opinions of the general public, as they think that the old Jirga system was better for them, as there were hard laws for criminals and would impose huge fines over criminals, so they criminals could not think of doing the criminal activities again.” He added.
Gul Khan Kaka said that the police system is passing from a transition period in Mohmand, so the majority of the police officials have no knowledge about the laws and discipline, some of them sub-judies their powers, some of them are not fully aware about their discipline and authority. He added that I see the majority of police officers in uniform in bazaars and other places, although they are not authorized to use weapons and uniform in public places.

A 45 years old, Sajad Ahmad Sahibzada (Ex-District Police Officer Mohmand) says “policing in Tribal District is a challenging task, as these people have spent more than 70 years in the black law of FCR (Frontier Crimes Regulations), The FCR was termed black law due to its collective punishment nature and dispossessing of people from their basic human rights, vote and doing appeal for their rights in courts. He said that they don’t know the rules, regulations and even they are not fully aware of their rights, they don’t know how to use their own right.”

DPO Mohmand said that there were many challenges to the Police system here, the transition of Khasadar and Levies into Police and their training were major issues, as they were not properly trained, so first ofall, we trained almost all the police officials according to their ranks in the different Police centers of the province, some of the training was conducted in the supervisors of Army and other LEA (Law enforcement Agencies),we gave them proper police training, now they know how to file an FIR? what is Roznamcha? And how can they maintain the records in police stations? “We have been assigned different duties, we make sub departments of police like Traffic squads, special investigation teams, Operation, Investigation, CTD, special branch, DSB,BDS, ladies police, crime scene squads etc.” He added.

In an exclusive interview, Mr. Sahibzada said that we have the best investigation team and SSP Investigation, Mr. Rohan Zeb has been appointed by our special request. In his supervision all the team is working very well, they are using the best investigation tools, due to which the criminals are raided and are taken into custody, which resulted in a very much decrease in crime rates.

About challenges to the policing in Mohmand, Sahibzada said that the people of Mohmand District are free from FCR and have the right of vote and appeal and the people are not aware of their rights, they don’t know how to use a police station for their rights? Beside this, majority of the people do not know the police’s rules and regulations, that’s why they are feeling difficulties in the process and filing FIR. He also appeals to the public and media for their social, moral and ethical support of the new police system, he also appeals to the media for their positive rule and highlighting the positive image of police and pointing out the crimes for the possible solution.

A 36 years old Mr. Rasool Khan, who is an advocate by profession said that Jirga system had big flaws. In that system, the signatures will be taken on a white page, from both the parties and they were bound to admit the Jirga’s decision forcefully, if any party disobeyed the decision, so a huge fine will be taken from that party and usually the decision would come in favor of the rich party, who gave more money to the Jirga persons (Usually Maliks and elders of that society).

Mr. Rasool Khan explained that in Jirga system there was no right of appeal to any party, but in judiciary system a rich man can’t do injustice with poor one, because a poor man can also file an FIR for his right with the help of a lawyer. Advocate and member of Mohmand Bar Association said that the judiciary system is new here, although it takes some time and the reason is that the Judge needs proof in order that no one can do injustice with anyone.

Some segments of the society think that, the New Police and Judiciary system is passing from an evolutionary period in all Tribal Districts including Mohmand, it will take time for general public to use this system for their welfare, but on the other hand some people are of the view that the old Jirga system was effective and the general public issues were solved very quickly in the Political Agent’s one Umbrella office system. But now with the presence of more than thirty departments, the routine matters got complicated, the people don’t know where their issue will be solved, and that’s why a single man visits so many departments for the solution of a single issue, but in olden days all the matters were solved in one umbrella system.
If proper awareness campaign is launched by all the govt. NGO’s and other services provider institutions with the help of general public in local media, in native language, on the local stage of Hujra, masjid and cultural stage, all the tribal people will be able to know about their basic rights and will be able to know, how to use the new Judiciary and Police system for their benefits.

The writer is Radio Producer and freelance Environmental Journalist, who tweets on @Muradonline123