Faisal Ahmad Shinwari

Faisal Ahmad Shinwari

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Faisal Ahmad Shinwari or Fazal Hadi Shinwari (1927-February 21, 2011) was the Chief Justice
Chief Justice of Afghanistan
The Chief Justice of Afghanistan is the head of the Afghan Supreme Court. The incumbent chief justice is Abdul Salam Azimi.-List of Chief Justices, 2001-present:*Faisal Ahmad Shinwari , was member of the Islamic Dawah Organisation of Afghanistan...

 of the Supreme Court of Afghanistan
Afghan Supreme Court
Stera Mahkama or the Afghan Supreme Court is the court of last resort in Afghanistan. It was created by the Constitution of Afghanistan, which was approved on January 4, 2004...

 from 2001 until 2006. He was appointed to the post by Afghan President
President of Afghanistan
Afghanistan has only been a republic between 1973 and 1992 and from 2001 onwards. Before 1973, it was a monarchy that was governed by a variety of kings, emirs or shahs...

 Hamid Karzai
Hamid Karzai
Hamid Karzai, GCMG is the 12th and current President of Afghanistan, taking office on 7 December 2004. He became a dominant political figure after the removal of the Taliban regime in late 2001...

 in accordance with the Afghan Constitution
Constitution of Afghanistan
The Constitution of Afghanistan is the supreme law of the state Afghanistan, which serves as the legal framework between the Afghan government and the Afghan citizens...

 approved after the 2001 overthrow of the Taliban government
Islamic Emirate of Afghanistan
The Islamic Emirate of Afghanistan was founded in 1996 when the Taliban began their rule of Afghanistan and ended with their fall from power in 2001...

. An ethnic Pashtun
Pashtun people
Pashtuns or Pathans , also known as ethnic Afghans , are an Eastern Iranic ethnic group with populations primarily between the Hindu Kush mountains in Afghanistan and the Indus River in Pakistan...

 from Jalalabad
Jalalabad
Jalalabad , formerly called Adinapour, as documented by the 7th century Hsüan-tsang, is a city in eastern Afghanistan. Located at the junction of the Kabul River and Kunar River near the Laghman valley, Jalalabad is the capital of Nangarhar province. It is linked by approximately of highway with...

, Afghanistan
Afghanistan
Afghanistan , officially the Islamic Republic of Afghanistan, is a landlocked country located in the centre of Asia, forming South Asia, Central Asia and the Middle East. With a population of about 29 million, it has an area of , making it the 42nd most populous and 41st largest nation in the world...

, Shinwari died in February 2011 from stroke
Stroke
A stroke, previously known medically as a cerebrovascular accident , is the rapidly developing loss of brain function due to disturbance in the blood supply to the brain. This can be due to ischemia caused by blockage , or a hemorrhage...

, he was a member of the Ittehad-al-Islami party.

Early years


Shinwari was born in the Haska Mina village of Shinwar
Shinwar District
Shinwar is a district in Nangarhar Province, Afghanistan. It is on the main highway from Jalalabad to the Torkham border crossing. Its population, which is 100% Pashtun, was estimated at 40,147 in 2002, of whom 16,000 were children under 12. The district centre is the village of Shinwar...

 in Nangarhar Province
Nangarhar Province
Nangarhar is one of the 34 provinces of Afghanistan in the east of the country. Its capital is the city of Jalalabad. The population of the province is 1,334,000, which consists mainly of ethnic Pashtuns with a sizable community of Arabs and Pashais....

, Afghanistan
Afghanistan
Afghanistan , officially the Islamic Republic of Afghanistan, is a landlocked country located in the centre of Asia, forming South Asia, Central Asia and the Middle East. With a population of about 29 million, it has an area of , making it the 42nd most populous and 41st largest nation in the world...

. He completed Islamic studies in Kabul
Kabul
Kabul , spelt Caubul in some classic literatures, is the capital and largest city of Afghanistan. It is also the capital of the Kabul Province, located in the eastern section of Afghanistan...

 and became a teacher at Ibn-i-Sina High School in 1954. A few years later he moved to Nangarhar and in 1974 he migrated to neighboring Pakistan
Pakistan
Pakistan , officially the Islamic Republic of Pakistan is a sovereign state in South Asia. It has a coastline along the Arabian Sea and the Gulf of Oman in the south and is bordered by Afghanistan and Iran in the west, India in the east and China in the far northeast. In the north, Tajikistan...

. In 2002, Shinwari was appointed Chief Justice by Afghan President
President of Afghanistan
Afghanistan has only been a republic between 1973 and 1992 and from 2001 onwards. Before 1973, it was a monarchy that was governed by a variety of kings, emirs or shahs...

 Hamid Karzai
Hamid Karzai
Hamid Karzai, GCMG is the 12th and current President of Afghanistan, taking office on 7 December 2004. He became a dominant political figure after the removal of the Taliban regime in late 2001...

.

In 2003 Shinwari spoke out against co-education—the education of boys and girls in shared facilities—while clarifying that he did not object to the education of girls and women in principle, just not in facilities shared with men and boys.
Shinwari also lead the Supreme Court's efforts to ban Cable TV.

According to Eurasianet Shinwari was responsible for re-instating the ministry formerly known as the "Ministry for the Promotion of Virtue and Prevention of Vice".
In theory, that could play into conservatives’ hands. Even though he has repeatedly distanced himself from the Taliban’s interpretation of Islam, Chief Justice Shinwari is an outspoken advocate of orthodoxy. With a background in religious matters only, Shinwari is seen as sympathetic to the pro-Wahhabist views of Abdul Rasul Sayyaf
Abdul Rasul Sayyaf
Ustad Abdul Rab Rasul Sayyaf is an Afghan Islamist politician. He took part in the war against the PDPA government in the 1980s, leading the Mujahedin faction Islamic Union for the Liberation of Afghanistan....

, a former mujaheddin commander and onetime associate of Osama bin Laden
Osama bin Laden
Osama bin Mohammed bin Awad bin Laden was the founder of the militant Islamist organization Al-Qaeda, the jihadist organization responsible for the September 11 attacks on the United States and numerous other mass-casualty attacks against civilian and military targets...

. Shinwari’s tenure as Chief Justice drew particular notice in 2003, when he reinstated the hated Ministry for the Promotion of Virtue and Prevention of Vice, renamed as the Ministry for Haj and Religious Affairs.


On December 8, 2004
Shinwari administered the oath of office to Hamid Karzai
Hamid Karzai
Hamid Karzai, GCMG is the 12th and current President of Afghanistan, taking office on 7 December 2004. He became a dominant political figure after the removal of the Taliban regime in late 2001...

 when he was elected President of Afghanistan
President of Afghanistan
Afghanistan has only been a republic between 1973 and 1992 and from 2001 onwards. Before 1973, it was a monarchy that was governed by a variety of kings, emirs or shahs...

.

Shinwari addressed the 17 Afghan who had been held in Guantanamo
Afghan captives in Guantanamo
According to the United States Department of Defense, there were over two hundred Afghan detainees in Guantanamo prior to May 15, 2006.The Guantanamo Bay detention camp was opened on January 11, 2002....

 whose Combatant Status Review Tribunal
Combatant Status Review Tribunal
The Combatant Status Review Tribunals were a set of tribunals for confirming whether detainees held by the United States at the Guantanamo Bay detention camp had been correctly designated as "enemy combatants". The CSRTs were established July 7, 2004 by order of U.S. Deputy Secretary of Defense...

s determined they had never been "enemy combatant
Enemy combatant
Enemy combatant is a term historically referring to members of the armed forces of the state with which another state is at war. Prior to 2008, the definition was: "Any person in an armed conflict who could be properly detained under the laws and customs of war." In the case of a civil war or an...

s" after all.
Their Tribunals had been held between August 2, 2004 and late January 2005.
Carlotta Gall
Carlotta Gall
Carlotta Gall is a British journalist who covers Afghanistan, as well as Pakistan for The New York Times.Carlotta Gall is a daughter of the British journalist Sandy Gall and Eleanor Gall. She was educated in England and read Russian and French at Newnham College, Cambridge...

 of the New York Times reported that the Chief Justice encouraged the men to regard their detention as something sent from God.
The reports stated that the Chief Justice warned the cleared men that a candid description of their detention could damage the chances of other Afghan captives to be released.
"Don't tell these people the stories of your time in prison because the government is trying to secure the release of others, and it may harm the release of your friends."


Shinwari is also reported to have distinguished between three categories of Guantanamo captives.:
"There are three kinds of prisoners in Guantanamo. There are those that have committed crimes and should be there, then there are people who were falsely denounced, and third there are those who are there because of the mistakes of the Americans."


In 2006, President Karzai renominated Shinwari to the position of Chief Justice, despite constitutional concerns regarding his degree in Islamic law
Sharia
Sharia law, is the moral code and religious law of Islam. Sharia is derived from two primary sources of Islamic law: the precepts set forth in the Quran, and the example set by the Islamic prophet Muhammad in the Sunnah. Fiqh jurisprudence interprets and extends the application of sharia to...

.
However, the parliament
National Assembly of Afghanistan
The National Assembly is Afghanistan's national legislature. It is a bicameral body, comprising two chambers:*Wolesi Jirga or the House of the People: the 250-member lower house.*Meshrano Jirga ) or the House of Elders: an upper house with 102 seats....

 rejected the nomination. Shinwari served as Chief Justice until a new candidate, Abdul Salam Azimi
Abdul Salam Azimi
Abdul Salam Azimi Abdul Salam Azimi Abdul Salam Azimi (Pashtu:عبدالسلام عظیمی (born: 1936, in Farah Province) is the Chief Justice of Afghanistan and, as such, the head of the Afghan Supreme Court since May 2006....

, was approved by parliament.

By Western standards, he was widely considered to be a very conservative Islamist, and in his short term as chief justice some of the court's rulings included:
  • the court, during the 2004 presidential election campaign, sought to ban a candidate who questioned whether polygamy
    Polygamy
    Polygamy is a marriage which includes more than two partners...

     was in keeping with the spirit of Islam;
  • they have called for an end to cable television
    Cable television
    Cable television is a system of providing television programs to consumers via radio frequency signals transmitted to televisions through coaxial cables or digital light pulses through fixed optical fibers located on the subscriber's property, much like the over-the-air method used in traditional...

     service in the country, at least pending government regulation, due in part to the apparent influence of films from Bollywood
    Bollywood
    Bollywood is the informal term popularly used for the Hindi-language film industry based in Mumbai , Maharashtra, India. The term is often incorrectly used to refer to the whole of Indian cinema; it is only a part of the total Indian film industry, which includes other production centers producing...

    , which were allegedly prurient http://www.hrea.org/lists/huridocs-tech/markup/msg00917.html;
  • the court upheld the death penalty for two journalists convicted of blasphemy
    Blasphemy
    Blasphemy is irreverence towards religious or holy persons or things. Some countries have laws to punish blasphemy, while others have laws to give recourse to those who are offended by blasphemy...

     for saying the Islam being practised in the country was reactionary;
  • they banned women from singing on television http://www.why-war.com/news/2002/08/31/afghansu.html; and
  • they ruled that a girl, given as a bride when 9 years old and now 13, could not get a divorce from her abusive husband.


According to the International Crisis Group
International Crisis Group
The International Crisis Group is an international, non-profit, non-governmental organization whose mission is to prevent and resolve deadly conflicts around the world through field-based analyses and high-level advocacy.-History:...

 Shinwari appointed 128 judges, in addition to the original nine, and that of the credentials of 36 judges they were able to examine, none of the new judges had a degree in secular law:
"Shinwari’s actions, together with the re-emergence of a ministry to promote Islamic virtue, have added to fears that the judicial system has been taken over by hard-liners before the Afghan people have had a chance to express their will in a democratic process."

Saudi peace talks


During Ramadan, 2008, there were rumors that Saudi King Abdullah
Abdullah of Saudi Arabia
Abdullah bin Abdul-Aziz Al Saud, Custodian of the Two Holy Mosques, is the King of Saudi Arabia. He succeeded to the throne on 1 August 2005 upon the death of his half-brother, King Fahd. When Crown Prince, he governed Saudi Arabia as regent from 1998 to 2005...

 was attempting to broker peace talks between the warring parties from Afghanistan.
Former Taliban Foreign Minister Wakil Ahmad Mutawakil  former Taliban Ambassador to Pakistan Abdul Salem Zaeef and Shinwari were among leading Afghan figures who met with King Abdullah.

Zaeef acknowledged being invited by King Abdullah to dine with other leading Afghan figures, from the Karzai government, the Taliban, Gulbuddin Hekmatyar
Gulbuddin Hekmatyar
Gulbuddin Hekmatyar is an Afghan Mujahideen leader who is the founder and leader of the Hezb-e Islami political party and paramilitary group. Hekmatyar was a rebel military commander during the 1980s Soviet war in Afghanistan and was one of the key figures in the civil war that followed the...

's Hezb-e-Islami
Hezb-e-Islami Gulbuddin
The Hezb-e-Islami Gulbuddin is an Afghan islamist political party.The original Hezb-e-Islami was founded in 1977 by Gulbuddin Hekmatyar who is now the head of HIG. The other faction is headed by Mulavi Younas Khalis who split with Hekmatyar and established his own Hezbi Islami in 1979...

 and other former members of the Taliban.
Zaeef denied this meeting should be characterized as "peace talks". He stated that none of the individuals at this meeting had been authorized to conduct negotiations. Zaeef denied anyone discussed Afghanistan at this meeting.

External links