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Buses bring mobile justice to remote Pakistan

New service to improve patchy legal system
Buses bring mobile justice to remote Pakistan

A bus that serves as a mobile court in Khyber Paktunkhwa province

Published: July 29, 2013 07:32 AM GMT
Updated: July 28, 2013 09:21 PM GMT

Pakistan has launched a mobile court service on a bus in restive Khyber Paktunkhwa province as part of plans to improve the justice system in remote border areas.

The justice buses, a first in the country, include a complete court room, traveling lawyers and a discussion room for attorneys and their clients as part of a US$150,000 initiative sponsored by the UN Development Program.

“The inability of the masses to bring disputes to the courts due to … the cost of litigation, a lack of resources and cumbersome legal procedures has prompted us to establish mobile courts and provide quick and inexpensive justice to poor people,” said Peshawar High Court Chief Justice Dost Mohhamed Khan during a launch ceremony on Saturday.

Six cases were settled on the first day of experimental hearings on the bus, including five criminal cases and one civil case.

The ruling Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaaf (PTI) has promoted the mobile court system as an answer to the patchy legal system in areas such as Khyber Paktunkhwa province, many of which have seen widespread use of sharia law.

“We want to provide justice through the local government system, and setting up mobile courts is part of the PTI’s agenda,” Israrullah Gandapur of the provincial law and parliamentary affairs office was quoted as saying in The Nation newspaper.

Pakistan’s district and superior courts are facing a backlog of 1.5 million cases which has caused the legal system to grind to a halt, particularly in remote areas, according to the Supreme Court. 

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