Sufi Muhammad warns Swat judges to cease hearings

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Peshawar, Mar 17 (ANI): Tehreek-e-Nifaz-e-Shariat Muhammad (TNSM) chief Sufi Muhammad has warned judges of the Swat lower judiciary to cease their hearings, as sharia courts would start operations in the district from today.

He warned at a press conference that if the judicial officers continued to attend their offices, it would be considered a violation of the peace accord between him and the NWFP Government.

Under the agreement, Sufi said all decisions rendered by lower courts in Swat after February 16 are void, and only the qazi courts are qualified to decide the cases in the district under sharia law, the Daily Times reported.

He claimed there was no need for President Asif Ali Zardari's approval on the Nizam-e-Adl (Shari) Regulations, 2009 as such regulations had already been implemented in the region without presidential consent.

He said qazi courts would now be established in Lower and Upper Dir districts, Buner, Malakand Agency, Shangla, Kohistan and Chitral districts.

Sufi said if the appointed qazis did not deliver their verdicts in light of sharia laws, they would be replaced by other qazis.

He said the qazi courts' decisions would be challenged in Darul Qaza, for which two qazis had already been appointed and a third one would be appointed soon.

He appealed to the public to examine the qazi courts' verdicts and efficiency, and inform him of any weaknesses and delays.

Following the press conference, the Peshawar High Court (PHC) expressed concern at TNSM chief Sufi Muhammad's threats to judges in Swat, and directed the NWFP Government to ensure the safety of Swat judges and courts. (ANI)

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