Lahore: On the lines of the Taliban, Mumbai attack mastermind Hafiz Saeed-led Jamaat-ud-Dawah (JuD) has set up a 'Sharia Court' here to hand out "easy and swift justice", the first such parallel judicial system in Pakistan's Punjab Province.
The JuD has set up the 'Sharia Court' with its headquarters at Jamia Qadsia, Chauburji, under a Qazi (judge) who is assisted by Khadmins (court associates) to decide complaints.
Darul Qaza Sharia -- a parallel private judicial system -- has been set up by the group in Lahore to provide "easy and swift justice" to the people and deals mostly in civil cases relating to property and monetary disputes.
The complaints are addressed to Saeed who later refers them to the Qazi for further proceedings.
According to a copy of one of the 'JuD summons', it has been dispensing private justice through the court for the last couple of months.
The 'summon', bearing monograms of Darul Qaza Sharia, Jamat-ud-Dawah, Pakistan, and 'Saalsi Sharai Adalat-i-Aalia' (Arbitration Court of Sharia), orders a man named Khalid to appear before the 'court' at the Jamia Qadsia Chauburji to 'record his statement' in a complaint against him.
He is warned of strict action under the Sharia laws in case of no response from his side.
The organisation's 'Arbitration Court of Sharia' has been taking up complaints of citizens approaching it for justice and summoning the 'defendants' in person or through a legal counsel with warnings of strict action under the Sharia laws in case of no response.
JuD spokesman Yahya Mujahid defended the establishment of the 'Sharia Court'.
"Sharia Court is not a parallel system to the constitutional courts of the country. It is an arbitration court, which decides disputes with the consent of the parties," he told Dawn News.
Mujahid said disputes have been resolved in accordance with Islamic laws and that offering arbitration to confronting parties is not illegal.
However, he could not justify issuance of summons carrying a "warning of strict action" in case of non-compliance.
This is the first Sharia court ever established in Punjab province. Earlier, the Sharia courts were established in Kyber Pakhtaunkhawa province by pro-Taliban groups.
"The Punjab government of Shahbaz Sharif is aware of this but it has deliberately turned a blind eye to it because it is not willing to lay hand on the JuD," a source in the Punjab government said.