PESHAWAR: While inaugurating a child court in newly merged Mohmand district on Saturday, Chief Justice Peshawar High Court (PHC) Waqar Ahmad Seth expressed resolve to address plight of children both in contact and in conflict with law by arranging resolution of their disputes under one roof.
The chief justice virtually inaugurated the child court, the first of its kind in any newly merged district and the fourth in the Khyber Pakhtunkhwa.
“This is a big stride forward in the juvenile justice system unmatched by any other province so far,” said the CJ. He further said, “Let me remind you that children under 14 years of age constitute almost 35 percent of our population. It would be thus unjust, if not downright criminal, to ignore the welfare of such a large chunk of society.”
He stated that cognizant of its responsibility, the Peshawar High Court embarked upon a plan in 2019 to establish a chain of child courts throughout the province beginning with Peshawar, extending next, to the divisional headquarters and finally to each district of the province.
Legal Consultant for Group Development Pakistan (GDP) Advocate Sharafat A Chaudhry, who provided technical legal support for the establishment of first child court in Mohmand, said, “The Peshawar High Court has made history by establishing a model child court in previously marginalized areas of KP.”
Additional District and Session Judge Wali Muhammad has been appointed as presiding officer of the Child Court Mohmand whereas recently three other child courts have been established at Peshawar, Mardan and Abbottabad.
It is pertinent to mention that as many as 168 judges and prosecutors, including 31 female judges, have been trained on juvenile justice and child protection related laws in Pakistan in accordance with the decision of the National Judicial Policy Making Committee (NJPMC) in wake of global convention on child rights.
However, implementation of the NJPMC directives of 2019 is not completed according to which juvenile and child protection courts would be established in every district of the country as the Committee had directed high courts to nominate judicial officers for training by the Group Development Pakistan (GDP).
Earlier, Khyber Pakhtunkhwa Judicial Academy with technical assistance of the GDP organized third training of juvenile and child courts officials judges, prosecutors, probation officers and child protection officers on laws pertaining to juvenile justice and child rights.
Talking to TLTP, Chaudhry who has drafted the country’s recent juvenile justice law said, “There is dire need to enforce the NJPMC decision and establish exclusive juvenile justice courts and juvenile rehabilitation centers in every district of Pakistan”.
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