Appellate court set up in N.As
29 September 2005
Islamabad: The chairman and two members of the newly-established Northern Areas Appellate Court on Thursday called on Federal Minister for Kashmir Affairs and Northern Areas Faisal Saleh Hayat, sources told Dawn. The minister, who is also chief executive of Northern Areas, congratulated the newly-appointed chairman and judges and hoped that they would ensure speedy and cheap justice to the people of the area and uphold the integrity of the judiciary. The minister assured all out support to the judges in dispensation of justice to the people of Northern Areas. The chief executive said the government had now fulfilled the longstanding demand of the people of Northern Areas by setting up the Appellate Court. The Kashmir Affairs and Northern Areas Ministry on Tuesday notified the appointment of Justice Qazi Ehsanullah, a former judge of the Peshawar High Court, as chairman of the Appellate Court and two senior-most advocates of Northern Areas — Altaf Hussain and Syed Tahir Ali Shah — as its members after and the approval by Prime Minister Shaukat Aziz, the sources said. The Supreme Court in its verdict on May 28, 1999 had directed the government to set up the court of appeal to ensure access to justice to the people of the region within a period of six months, but it took six years for the government to implement the SC verdict. At present, the Northern Areas have a chief court with a status of a high court, but there was no appellate forum where people could file appeals against the orders of the chief court. The people of this region cannot challenge the orders and judgments of the court of appeal before the Supreme Court of Pakistan. Legal experts appreciated the decision, but they demanded that the Northern Areas judiciary should be delinked from the Kashmir Affairs Ministry and be placed under the direct supervision of Supreme Court.