Bilawal stands up against jirgas

EVEN in the 21st century, existence of Jirga system in Pakistan notorious for awarding whimsical decisions especially against women is a scar on our society which brought shame and bad name to the country over period of time. Brutal murder of sixteen year old Ambreen in Abbottabad last week is yet another instance of a Jirga acting as a judge, jury and executioner openly flouting law of the land and authority of the State.
Condemning the incident in strongest words, Chairman of Pakistan People’s Party Bilawal Bhutto Zardari called upon the masses to revolt against the Jirga system while asking the judiciary and prosecution to fulfil their responsibilities regarding elimination of this menace. Time and again, countless innocent people especially women folk have been victimised by these so-called tribal councils. Islam has given an elevated status to women yet these jirgas have given decisions which are against the Islamic teachings. The treatment meted out to Mukhtararn Mai is still fresh in the minds of the people. In the present era such a jirga system is not comprehensible as it amounts to running a parallel justice system. But unfortunately this informal and cruel system still exists in our society like that of private jails in certain areas which also exposes feudal mindset. It is time to strictly implement relevant laws that ban the existence of these bodies. Members of jirgas that act as quasi-courts should be classified as criminals and taken to task, no matter if they are politicians or enjoy support of influential figures. We also expect from other politicians and segments of society to add their voice to what Bilawal Bhutto has said against this illegal system. We also hope that the PPP chairperson would not only restrict himself to a mere statement but also initiate some practical steps to help eradicate this practice. Greater responsibility also rests with the government and judiciary to ensure provision of speedy justice to the people and hold trial of those who perpetrate disorder in the society.

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