Appellate courts approved for Northern Areas
4 December 2003
The Daily Times
ISLAMABAD: President General Pervez Musharraf has approved the formation of appellate courts in the Northern Areas for locals to challenge decisions of accountability courts and the chief court in the National Accountability Bureau (NAB) cases, Daily Times learnt on Thursday. The Northern Areas and Kashmir Affairs secretary will soon notify the appellate courts, sources said. Accountability courts were set up across the country under the National Accountability Bureau Ordinance in 1999. Appeals against convictions could be filed before a provincial high court and then before the Supreme Court, but in the Northern Areas there was no accountability bench to hear such appeals. Only the chief court, which is the apex court in the Northern Areas, could give a final verdict on appeals against NAB decisions. Sources said earlier there was discrimination between the Northern Areas and the rest of the country because NAB convicts were devoid of the right to appeal in the high court and then the Supreme Court. A Rawalpindi bench of the Lahore High Court recently rejected an appeal by someone from the Northern Areas, saying the matter was out of its ambit. The case went to the Supreme Court, which directed the Law Ministry to establish appellate courts in the Northern Areas.