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Author Topic: Shari'ah Brings Speedy Justice to Swat  (Read 456 times)
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« on: Apr 06, 2009 10:22 PM »

Shari`ah Brings Speedy Justice to Swat

By  Aamir Latif, IOL Correspondent

After a three-year legal battle, the two sisters got their inheritance right from a Shari`ah court in only four hours. (File photo)

After a three-year legal battle, the two sisters got their inheritance right from a Shari`ah court in only four hours. (File photo)
SWAT — For more than tow years, Zubeda and Pari Gul have been seeking their right in their father’s property through the court system but in vain.

It was only after the implementation of Shari`ah under a new agreement between the government and local Taliban that the two sisters finally got their inheritance.

"We are very happy that we have got justice, though late," says a jubilant Zubeda, 25.

She and her sister Pari Gul, 27, have been caught in a bitter legal dispute with their two brothers over their inheritance for nearly three years ago.

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 They ran from pillar to post to get their right, sought every legal and bureaucratic means, including the lower court in Swat, but not to avail.

"We did everything possible to get our share, but could not," says Zubeda.

"We used to appear on every hearing, but every time the defense lawyer managed to get a new date for hearing on different technical and legal grounds."

When the Shari`ah courts were established under an agreement between the government and local Taliban, the two sisters instantly took their case to the Qazi (judge) in Mingora, the capital of the Swat valley.

"This time, we did not need even a lawyer. I wrote a simple application and submitted to the Qazi court," recalls Zubeda.

"It took only four hours. This is unbelievable for me, that a case can be decided within hours."

Under the newly introduced judicial system, there is Qazi courts in Swat, Dir, Chitral, Kohistan and other NWFP districts.

The courts decide civil cases within six months and criminal cases within four months.

Swat was an independent state governed under Shari`ah until 1970 when then military ruler General Yahya Khan scrapped its independent identity.

Locals say they used to settle their issues under Shari`ah, insisting that the enforcement of British laws complicated the situation.

Speedy Justice

The two sisters can not believe how fast they reached justice after a long, exhausting and expensive legal wrangling.

"Qazi Sahib did not go though any legal or technical procedures," says Zubeda.

"He simply summoned our brothers, and inquired about details of our father’s property. Later, Qazi verified the details by some of our relatives who were also present at the courtroom," she added.

After the two brothers admitted they had not so far given their sisters their due share in the inheritance, the judge ordered them to pay half the amount on the spot and gave them a deadline of three months to pay the remaining amount.

Zubeda and Pari Gul have already received two cheques of Rs 500,000 (7000 dollars) each.

They note that even if they were to win their case at the lower court, their brothers would have moved to the high court, and then the Supreme Court, and even after that they would have had the chance to file a review petition.

"It would have easily taken some 10 years," Zubeda believes.

She says that not only she and her sister who appreciate the Shari`ah justice.

"The people of Swat in general are happy with re-implementation of the old judicial system.

"We have nothing to do with politics. Neither Qazi Sahib asked me whether I support Taliban’s code or not. We simply want speedy justice."

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