07/29/2009, 00.00
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Sharia is still the law of reference in the districts of North-West Frontier

by Fareed Khan
Peshawar High Court reiterates that Islamic law remains operational in the districts of Malakand, Chitral, Upper Dir and Shangla in accordance with the agreement between the government and the Taliban. Meanwhile, on July 26 police arrested the head of the integralist movement Tehreek-e-Nafaz-e-Shariat-e-Muhammad.

Islamabad (AsiaNews) - The people of Malakand Division in North-West Frontier Province, remain under the jurisdiction of Sharia. The confirmation comes from Qalandar Ali Khan, registrar of the High Court of Peshawar, who reiterated that in the territorial division all cases, including those pending, are subject to the Nizam-e-Adl Regulation 2009, the agreement that resulted from the pact between Islamabad and the Taliban in March, which attaches to the Darul Qaza and Darul-Darul Qaza Islamic courts, the administration of justice.

The maintenance of Sharia in the district has extinguished the feeble hope of many people in the region who had been calling for the restoration of a non-Islamic judicial system. After the offensive launched by Islamabad against the Taliban in May, much of the population expected a review of the Nizam-e-Adl Regulation 2009. Their hopes were further boosted by the July 26 arrest of Maulana Sufi Muhammad. The police ensured that the head of the fundamentalist movement Tehreek-e-Nafaz-e-Shariat-e-Muhammad (TNSM), signatory of the agreement with the government, would be brought quickly to trial and this fact had been read by many as the signal of a possible change that would have influenced the revision of the Islamic judicial system.

Instead Ali Khan said the district judges (Zilla qazis) and regional judges (illaqa qazis) who manage the Nizam-e-Adl in Malakand are already at work and the government has also approved an increase in their number. So far the Islamic courts are also operating in the districts of Chitral, Upper Dir and Shangla while in parts of Swat Valley, Lower Dir and Buner military operations continue and the reorganization of the judiciary will be carried out only after the return of refugees.

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