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MAY 6, 2014: The Peshawar High Court (PHC) on Monday advised the federal government to submit a reference in the Parliament for suitable amendments to the Constitution with an aim to protect fundamental human rights in the tribal region. The advice was given by a larger bench in a detailed judgment over matters related to illegal detentions and issues of government servants.
The PHC on Monday issued a 46-page judgment related to Fata, in which a larger bench comprising the then PHC chief justice Mian Fasihul Mulk, present Chief Justice Mazhar Alam Miankhel, Justice Yahya Afridi, Justice Qaiser Rasheed and Justice Malik Manzoor Hussain declared that the high court had jurisdiction to hear cases of the employees of provincial and federal governments serving in Fata.
About arrest of people from settled areas by the political administration, the bench declared that the high court could assume its jurisdiction in illegal arrest by the political administration. The bench stated that the arrest would be illegal if political administration did not fulfil procedure under section 86-A of the Criminal Procedure Code (CrPC), before shifting the arrested persons to tribal areas from the settled areas.
The bench declared that the high court had jurisdiction to hear the cases if the incident or any other agreements on business and other matters took place in settled areas between private parties and action was taken by the political authorities.
The bench said the court would decide its jurisdiction in the service maters of those employees who were directly appointed by the political authorities when such cases come to the court for hearing.
However, the bench declared that the high court had no jurisdiction to hear cases related to various matters occurring in Fata and illegal arrests of tribal people there.The judgment said the political agents’ basic duty was to run the administrative affairs of various tribal agencies, but at the same time they also act as judge and sentenced the tribal people under the FCR.
The bench declared that there was no system to control the unlimited powers of the political agents and that was why they were committing serious violations of fundamental human rights and giving decisions on their own free will and under sub-Article 7 of Article 247 of Constitution their divisions are not challenged in the high court.
Therefore, the court declared sub-article 7 of Article 247 of the Constitution inconsistent with articles related to fundamental rights and advised the federal government to submit a reference in the parliament for suitable amendments to the said article.
“We are advising the federal government to submit a reference in the National Assembly and Senate for suitable amendments in sub-article 7 of Article 247 of the Constitution. People of Fata are citizens of Pakistan, but imposing restriction through this article of the Constitution against tribal people to get fundamental rights.