Jirga – Parallel Justice System

Politics and Society

Chief minister of Pakistan’s North Western Frontier Province called grand jirga of NWFP parliamentarians in Islamabad on Tuesday. Interior Minister Aftab Ahmed Khan Sherpao called this Jirga unconstitutional and undemocratic.

Few weeks ago a jirga in Karachi, called for city wide transport strike. The strike took a violent turn, one man was killed and several people got injured when angry Pakhtons and Afghans allegedly attempted to attack a neighborhood of Urdu speaking people.

English language media doesn’t cover much of Pakistan’s rural areas but if you read the Urdu newspapers you would notice that each day there is a jirga held in some part of the country. Most of the times these Jirgas act like a criminal court, sometimes ordering sever punishments to accused parties. These local Jirgas are also dealing with land and property disputes, domestic and family issues and all this happening not only in the tribal areas, where the Jirga system has a formal legal status, but also in rural Punjab, Sindh and the Pakhton neighborhoods of Karachi.

Jirga system is on a rise and unfortunately government of Pakistan is unable to stop people from organizing a Jirga. It is totally legal to organize jirga meeting. Authorities can not take any action against the jirga until someone files a complain either to local police or to the courts. Even then they will have to prove that the decision made by Jirga is illegal, criminal or violates any Pakistani law. Even Government of Pakistan calls for Jirga to solve trouble in Wazirstan and Bajor tribal agencies.

What else better describes anarchy?

Where is judiciary in Pakistan?

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