The Peshawar High Court on Saturday established two new child courts in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa to ensure expeditious, sensitive and fair justice to the children of the province.

The two courts were inaugurated by Chief Justice Waqar Ahmed Seth of the Peshawar High Court, in Mardan and Abbottabad, as required by the Juvenile Justice System Act, 2018, the Khyber Pakhtunkhwa Child Protection and Welfare Act, 2010 and the constitution of Pakistan.

Rooms, adjoining the courts, have been designed to create a comfortable and child-conducive environment. Its walls were painted, and plastered with handmade drawings. In addition, the shelves have been stacked with toys and books to create a relaxing environment that “contributes to helping the children face the judicial process in a dignified and positive manner,” read the press release by the PHC.

The Peshawar High Court has posted the additional session judges, Faryal Zia Mufti and Syed Iftikhar Shah. Furthermore, 24 others, including 12 additional session judges and 12 judicial magistrates, four government officials and sixteen prosecutors have been specifically trained on child rights and child justice.

“Till now, three child courts have been established in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa,” said Khwaja Wajiuddin, the registrar of the Peshawar High Court, after the inauguration, “This is just the beginning. The Khyber Pakhtunkhwa judiciary is determined to establish child courts in each divisional headquarter of the province in the first phase, and child courts in each district in the second phase.” 

He further added that the federal government had so far rejected the court’s request to allocate additional seats for judges to be appointed to separate and specific child courts in each district of the province. “But we will continue to pursue our objective.”

The first child court, established in March in Peshawar, has adjudicated on 243 cases to date, according to court documents, of which 10 cases resulted in convicted.

It was, however, learnt on the occasion that juvenile courts as well as the Juvenile Justice Committees are yet to be notified by the government, to pave the way for initiating rehabilitation programmes for children.