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Pakistani reconciliation panels solve disputes

June 28, 2010

….The restorative justice system appeared in the United States in 1970 and spread across the globe. Its need here became felt when the fight against the militancy pressured the police and courts.

Police stations were flooded with petty cases while bombs were going off outside. A lack of judges and court facilities meant disputes took years to settle. That caused problems for the poor in particular, and the Taliban exploited the situation by presenting an alternative system of quicker and cheaper justice.

The ploy worked initially, as Pakistanis said, “The Taliban are offering quicker and cheaper justice than the state does.” That perception among the public set off alarm bells for the government.

“We first introduced the restorative justice system in the Hazara region in 2008 on an experimental basis, and when we got good results, this system was slowly and gradually extended to some other districts of Pakhtunkhwa province”, Tanoli told Central Asia Online.

The Musalihatee committee network extends to Abbottabad, Mansehra, Haripur, Swabi, Mardan, Nowshera and Peshawar, where, according to police officials, “encouraging results” Are coming in. The government eyes expansion of the system to all other districts of the province; however, logistical problems are causing some delays.

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