Members of the Bar
Ladies and Gentlemen!
It gives me immense pleasure to be here to administer the oath to the newly elected cabinet of the Mingora Bench/Darul Quza Bar Association of Peshawar High Court. Even though I prefer interaction with members of the Bench and Bar to discuss the issues faced by the legal fraternity and the litigant public but this event is a truly unique and gratifying moment.
It is unique because the present elected body is the first after the creation of the Mingora Bench of the Peshawar High Court. It is gratifying also as this part of the country suffered immensely in the last many years due to conflict and militancy which ravaged this most scenic and serene place in our country, however, it has emerged relatively unscathed and stronger and trying to regain its former glory as a most charming place inhabited by most hospitable and lovely people.
Swat has attained a special place in the hearts and minds of Pakistani people both in country and abroad. This historic piece of land is proudly comparable with other scenic places in the world and is popularly called the “Switzerland of Pakistan”.
It was a princely State of the Mughal Empire ruled by the local rulers till 1849 when the State of Swat was established under Sayyid Akbar Shah. In the year 1917 the Mian Gul family took over the reign of administration till the year 1969 when the State was officially merged into the territory of Pakistan.
This historical perspective is necessary to be kept in mind while looking at the evolution of law and administration in Swat. During the period when the Swat was being run as a princely State, the system of administration was pre-dominantly based on local traditions, the system was however regarded as fair and quick and easy justice was made available to the people at their doorsteps.
However, due to the sudden change over, the problems arose and in due course caused complications. Unfortunately, the area was captured by certain forces who tried to impose their views on the traditionally open and accommodating society of this valley which reacted against this subjugation. This action caused some trouble and temporary dislocation to the locals who had to migrate to safer areas.
Ultimately peace returned and security of life and property restored. It indicated the resilience and resolve of both the state and the society not to bow before the forces of tyranny and extremism. The courage and patience of people of Swat must be commended, who have proven their strength of character and patience by facing the adverse circumstances in a brave and forthright manner.
Ladies and Gentlemen!
Now it is the responsibility of the local population, the civil society, civil administration, the Courts and lawyers’ community to ensure that the ground gained after this bloody conflict would be retained and built upon by jealously guarding the fundamental rights of the people of Swat and by ensuring the supremacy of Constitution and the rule of law.
You are the custodian of the rights of the people. It is incumbent upon you to ensure that at least in your area of concern i.e. administration of justice, no effort is spared to provide easy access to justice to the litigants at all levels.
By doing so you will not only discourage the evil practices which are contrary to law and Shariah but will also earn the respect and confidence of the people on the administrative machinery in many districts of Swat including Dir and Chitral.
In Islam, great emphasis has been laid on ‘Justice’. Even in three monotheistic religions, it is one of God’s attributes. The Quran gives us hints about the true nature of Allah Almighty through ‘the 99 names’; one of them is al-Adl, “the Just” and another is al-Muqsito, “the Dispenser of Justice” or “He who gives to each thing its due”.
As per mandates of Quran, justice is considered to be a supreme virtue. Some scholars consider that it stands next in order of priority to have belief in God’s exclusive right to worship (Tawheed) and the truth of Muhammad’s Prophethood. In Quran, it has been ordained:
“And act justly. Truly God loves those who are just.” (Al-Hujurat: Verse 9)
“God commands justice and fair dealing…” (An-Nahl: Verse 90)
“O you who believe, be upright for God, and (be) bearers of witness with justice!…” (Alma’ida: Verse 8)
“… … and when you judge between people, judge with justice.” (Al-Nisa’: Verse 58)
“We sent Our Messengers with clear signs and sent down with them the Book and the Measure in order to establish justice among the people …” (Al-Hadid: Verse 25)
“O you who believe! Stand out firmly for justice, as witnesses to Allah, even if it be against yourselves, your parents, and your relatives, or whether it is against the rich or the poor…” (An-Nisa’: Verse 135)
In an Hadith-e-Qudsi, God spoke to His Messenger in the words:
“O My slaves, I have forbidden injustice for Myself and forbade it also for you. So avoid being unjust to one another.” (Saheeh Muslim)
Thus it is manifest from the Injunction of Islam that the principles of faith and justice are the key features of the dictates of Almighty Allah.
In the Islamic jurisdiction, Qazi is a judge appointed for resolving disputes, both of the civil and criminal nature, in accordance with Islamic law. The basic qualifications of a Qazi are that he must be an adult, free person, sane, sagacious, un-convicted of slander and educated in Islamic science. Traditionally, Qazi has jurisdiction over all legal matters relating to the affairs of State.
The term Qazi has been used throughout Islamic history, right from the time of the Prophet Muhammad (P.B.U.H.) and the period of the caliphates. They were chosen from the persons who were experts in the sciences of jurisprudence and law.
The office of the Qazi al-Quza was established during the period of the Abbasid Caliphate. The Qazis were appointed in every region, town and village for judicial and administrative control and to establish peace and justice over the dominions they controlled.
In Islam, even the head of State is never considered to be above the law. It has been proved from the historical records that great Caliph, Hazrat Omar (R.A.) as well as several Caliphs of the Omayyad and Abbasid were summoned by the Qazi, without any regard for their status or position. Maulana Shibli Nomani in his book Al-Farooq has said that Hazrat Umar (RA) had appeared before a Qazi ten times.
Once, in response to a complaint made by someone, Omar (RA) appeared before the Qazi Court of Medina. The Qazi stood up to show respect to the Caliph as he entered the court. Omar (RA) said to the Qazi, “this is the first injustice you have done to the plaintiff”. Indeed, Islam prescribe very high principles of conduct for the judge to be fair, independent and impartial in the process of dispensation of justice.
Ladies and Gentlemen!
The Nizam-e-Adl Regulations 2009 have been promulgated establishing a new judicial system in Swat. It is a combination of legal codes and Sharia law. It provides for Darul Quza as an appellate court, in accordance with the Constitution.
It gives me much satisfaction to note that Nizam-e-Adl Regulation provides clear-cut roadmap and guidelines for providing justice to the people at their doorsteps. Clear timeline has been given for deciding both criminal and civil cases. It is good to know that the number of Judges is linked to the number of instituted cases.
Thus, with the increased institution of fresh cases consequent increase in the number of Judges will ensure that no backlog and pendency is created like in other parts of the country. The people of the area are generally satisfied with the new judicial system.
The effectiveness of the system can well be ascertained from the fact that in the recent past, record number of cases have been decided in the Malakand Division and especially in Mingora District.
We are standing at a crossroads of history, where one road leads us to insurmountable problems and challenges while the other beacons us to safety and security of rule of law and good governance. These are testing times.
But such times offer greater opportunities to face the issues and problems and overcome the difficulties. People should show perseverance and patience but must also continue to struggle to overcome the hardships and pave way for establishing peace and security to ensure economic development and social progress.
Ladies and Gentlemen!
The most immediate lesson we have learnt from this struggle is that there is no short cut to success in the life of an individual or a nation. One must strive hard to achieve one’s aims and objectives. As a nation, we must stick to the principle of rule of law, supremacy of state, zero tolerance for corruption, special emphasis on education and most importantly being honest in our respective professions.
You are the young and pioneering members of the High Court Bar here in Swat. The ethical conduct and examples set by you now will become strong tradition for future generations of lawyers to follow. Therefore, it is your added responsibility to be honest and efficient and provide most efficient support to the presiding officers of various courts.
Although it may sound a little bit cliché to say that the Bar and the Bench are the most integral part of the judicial system of a country, let me say again that it is the Bar and the Bench which have the onerous responsibility of meting out justice to people in a most fair and transparent manner.
If you prepare your case in a most comprehensive manner and also avoid taking false and frivolous cases and seeking undue adjournments, you will not only serve your clients, will support the Bench in reaching just decision but will also earn the respect of the society. It will add to your credibility and people will approach the Courts much more than previous. So this is a win situation for everybody.
In the end, again I would like to offer my special thanks to the newly elected body of the High Court Bar Association of Mingora for inviting me over here and for providing me this opportunity to share my ideas with you. I wish you all the best in your professional life and pray that this Bar should achieve highest standard of excellence and professionalism.
May God Bless You.
For more information, contact:
Shahid Hussain Kamboyo
Public Relations Officer
Supreme Court of Pakistan
Tel: +9251 920 4184
Fax: +9251 920 1001