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Old Tuesday, October 19, 2010
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FRONTIER CRIMES REGULATION...
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The Frontier Crimes Regulation (FCR) comprises a set of laws enforced by the British Raj in the Pashtun-inhabited tribal areas at the Northwest British India. They were specially devised to counter the fierce opposition of the Pashtuns to British rule, and their main objective was to protect the interests of the British Empire.

The FCR dates back to the occupation of the six Pashtun-inhabited frontier districts by the British in 1848. The regulation was re-enacted in 1873 and again in 1876, with minor modifications.

With the passage of time, the regulation was found to be inadequate and new acts and offences were added to it to extend its scope. This was done through promulgation of the Frontier Crimes Regulation 1901.

The FCR advocates collective punishment, and many human rights activists argue it is against the most basic Human rights.

According to the FCR despite the presence of popularly elected tribal representatives, parliament can play no role in the affairs of the area.

Article 247 of the Pakistani Constitution provides that no Act of Parliament applies to FATA, unless the president so desires. Only the president is authorized to amend laws and promulgate ordinances for the tribal areas. Some of the provisions described as discriminatory are substantive as well as procedural - e.g. selection of jirga members (section 2), trial procedure in civil/criminal matters (sections 8 & 11), demolition of and restriction of construction of hamlet, village or tower in the North-West Frontier Province (section 31), method of arrest/ detention (section 38 & 39) security for good behaviour (sections 40, 42), imposition/collection of fine (sections 22-27).

The act has been condemned by senior judges including noted Pakistani Supreme court judge Justice A.R Cornelius as "obnoxious to all recognised modern principles governing the dispensation of justice" in the case of Sumunder vs State (PLD 1954 FC 228).)

Proposed repeal..
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After taking vote of confidence unanimously on 29 March 2008, Pakistan new Prime Minister Makhdoom Yousef Raza Gilani expressed his government's desire to repeal the FCR. Following this announcement there have been large number of processions in favor of this decision and the Prime Minister all over FATA.

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JIRGAH...
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A jirga (occasionally jirgah) (Pashto: جرګه) is a tribal assembly of elders which takes decisions by consensus, particularly among the Pashtun people but also in other ethnic groups near them; they are most common in Afghanistan and among the Pashtuns in Pakistan near its border with Afghanistan. In recent times, the tradition has also been adopted by Muslims in Kashmir valley, It is similar to that of a town meeting in the United States or a regional assembly in England, where important regional matters are addressed among the people of the area.

Functioning...
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The community council meeting is often found in circumstances involving a dispute between two individuals; a jirga may be part of the dispute resolution mechanism in such cases. The disputants would usually begin by finding a mediator, choosing someone of stature such as a senior religious leader, a local notable, or one of the mediation specialists (known as khans or maliks). The mediator hears from the two sides, and then forms a jirga of community elders, taking care to include supporters of both sides. The jirga then considers the case, and after discussing the matter comes to a decision about how to handle the matter, which the mediator then announces. The jirga's conclusion in the matter has to be accepted.

The jirga was also used as a court in cases of criminal conduct, but this usage is being replaced by formal courts in some settled areas of Pakistan and Afghanistan, elsewhere it is still used as courts in tribal regions.

The jirga holds the prestige of a court in the tribal areas of Pakistan. Although a Political Agent, appointed by the national government, maintains law and order through Frontier Crimes Regulation (FCR), the actual power lies in the jirga. The political agent maintains law and order in his tribal region with the help of jirgas. The jirga can award capital punishment, stoning to death in case of adultery, or expulsion from the community.

The Sindh High Court imposed a ban on the holding of jirgas in April 2004 because of the sometimes inhumane sentences awarded to people, especially the women and men who spread HIV to protect the society. But the ban has been blatantly ignored and nothing has been done about it so far.

In the recent military operation against al Qaeda and Taliban in Pakistan's restive southern tribal agencies bordering Afghanistan, jirgas played a key role of moderator between the government and the militants.


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Ombudsman
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An ombudsman (conventional English plural: ombudsmen) is a person who acts as a trusted intermediary between an organization and some internal or external constituency while representing the broad scope of constituent interests. An indigenous Danish, Norwegian, and Swedish term, Ombudsmann is etymologically rooted in the Old Norse word umbušsmann, essentially meaning "representative". An ombudsman is an official, usually appointed by the government or by parliament, who is charged with representing the interests of the public by investigating and addressing complaints reported by individual citizens.

Usually appointed by the organization, but sometimes elected by the constituency, the ombudsman may, for example, investigate constituent complaints relating to the organization and attempt to resolve them, usually through recommendations (binding or not) or mediation. Ombudsmen sometimes identify organizational roadblocks running counter to constituent interests.

In some jurisdictions an ombudsman charged with the handling of concerns about national government is more formally referred to as the "Parliamentary Commissioner" (e.g., the United Kingdom Parliamentary Commissioner for Administration, and the Western Australian state Ombudsman). In many countries where the ombudsman's remit extends beyond dealing with alleged maladministration to promoting and protecting human rights, the ombudsman is recognized as the national human rights institution. The word ombudsman and its specific meaning have been adopted in various languages, including Spanish, Dutch and Czech. The post of ombudsman has been instituted by other governments and organizations such as the European Union.

An ombudsman may not be appointed by a legislature, but may instead be appointed by, or even work for, a corporation such as a utility supplier or a newspaper, for an NGO, for a professional regulatory body, or for local or municipal government.

In some countries an Inspector General may have duties similar to or overlapping with an ombudsman appointed by the legislature.

Making a complaint to an ombudsman is usually free of charge.

Ombudsman in politics In general, an ombudsman is a state official appointed to provide a check on government activity in the interests of the citizen, and to oversee the investigation of complaints of improper government activity against the citizen. If the ombudsman finds a complaint to be substantiated, the problem may get rectified, or an ombudsman report is published making recommendations for change. Further redress depends on the laws of the country concerned, but this normally involves financial compensation. Ombudsmen in most countries do not have the power to initiate legal proceedings or prosecution on the grounds of a complaint.

The major advantage of an ombudsman is that he or she examines complaints from outside the offending state institution, thus avoiding the conflicts of interest inherent in self-policing. However, the ombudsman system relies heavily on the selection of an appropriate individual for the office, and on the cooperation of at least some effective official from within the apparatus of the state. Perhaps for this reason, outside Scandinavia, the introduction of ombudsmen has tended to yield mixed results.


Organizational ombudsman
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Many private companies, universities, non-profit organizations and government agencies also have an ombudsman (or an ombuds office) to serve internal employees, and managers and/or other constituencies. These ombudsman roles are structured to function independently, by reporting to the CEO or board of directors, and according to International Ombudsman Association (IOA) Standards of Practice do not serve any other role in the organization. They are beginning to appear around the world within organizations, sometimes as an alternative to anonymous hot-lines in countries where these are considered inappropriate or are illegal, and in addition to hot lines because ombuds offices typically receive many more calls than do hot lines.


An organizational ombudsman who is practising to IOA "standards of practice" is neutral and visibly outside ordinary line and staff structures. An organizational ombudsman will practice informally (with no management decision-making power, and without accepting "notice" for the organization). An organizational ombudsman typically keeps no case records for an employer and keeps near absolute confidentiality. The only exception is where there appears to be an imminent risk of serious harm, and an ombudsman can see no responsible option other than breaking confidence—but organizational ombuds programs report that they can almost always find "other responsible options", such as helping a visitor to make an anonymous report about whatever appears to be the problem.



Pakistan...
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In Pakistan, the establishment of the institution of Ombudsman was advocated on several occasions. It was, however, Article 276 of the Interim Constitution of 1972, which for the first time provided for the appointment of a Federal Ombudsman as well as Provincial Ombudsmen. Subsequently, the Constitution of 1973 included the Federal Ombudsman at item 13 of the Federal Legislative List in the Fourth Schedule. The Institution of Ombudsman was, however, actually brought into being through the Establishment of the Office of Wafaqi Mohtasib (Ombudsman) Order, 1983 (President’s Order No. 1 of 1983), which is now a part of the Constitution of the Islamic Republic of Pakistan by virtue of Article 270-A. It started functioning on 8 August 1983.

The Ombudsman in Pakistan is called "Wafaqi Mohtasib", (English: "Federal Ombudsman") with its headquarters in Islamabad and Regional Offices in Lahore, Sukkur, Quetta, Faisalabad, Multan, Dera Ismail Khan, Peshawar and Karachi. The official website of Ombudsman in Pakistan is http://www.mohtasib.gov.pk.
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