Abdul Rahman Malik
TRIBAL clashes in the parts of Balochistan and Sindh bring miseries and destruction as warring tribes go on killing spree and do not stop until they equal the numbers. Tribal clashes create several economic and social problems that compel the tribes to adopt criminal activitiesn for instance dacoity, mobile snatching, motorbike snatching and stealing in the rural areas where police patrolling is not available. This is obviously the great game of Sardars and politicians to incite the tribes to fight to settle their disputes. The disputes starting from trivial matters such as water share, agro field, grazing of animals in somebody’s farmlands, marriage, illicit relations and Karo Kari (honour killings). These tribal feuds have already swallowed thousands of innocent lives since our judicial structure has failed to provide relief and people look for traditional jirga system conducted by these tribal chiefs and Sardars. Even, the jirgas decisions are almost unjustified and women are given in exchange to settle the disputes since these tribal verdicts are binding on both parties. The sardars running these jirgas as lucrative business and maintain their tribal grip over the people whose votes make their way to the assemblies.
Sindh, Balochistan, KP and Punjab are embedded in the Feudal fabric that is controlling the social, cultural and political arena of these provinces. The British had conferred various titles to these feudals due to their allegiance to the British Empire. The titles such as sardars, Mirs, Nawab, Khan Bahadur, Rais and Muqdum are still practised. Actually, there were some princely states which were classified as Salute and non-salute states. These states were controlled indirectly by British India. The examples include Bahawalpur, Khairpur, Makran, Kalat etc. There are several tribes who are traditionally holding hereditary Turban (pug) of Tribal chief and control their community and the bunch of other communities. Sometimes, the tribes restart their clash soon after the settlement and pursue the killing spree owing to some annoyed groups. The women especially the girls bear the brunt of these tribal clashes as unmarried Girls are exchanged in marriage to the tribes as compensation of the murder. Consequently, the innocent girls become the victims of these tribal Jirgas held by the tribal chiefs and sardars. The students are also the victims of these tribal clashes since their schooling is affected amid fear of attack if they went to school, the enemies may target these students. Such incidents happened several times due to these bloody tribal clashes.
One incident still revolves in my mind and the people around us when 30 innocent lives were lost in exchange of fire between two tribes owing to a trivial issue of illegal grazing of the cow in the field. The role of Police is very dismal rather dubious since, in broad daylight, these armed goons come in the city and start indiscriminate firing and police as usual reaches late providing almost license to kill the innocent people and busy in grabbing money. The open display of sophisticated weapons heralds that how these communities manage to purchase such imported guns, pistols and even rocket launchers when their purchase requires official approval and some are illegally possessed by the warring tribes on the excuse of tribal clash and safety. The Government is clueless about these incidents or deliberately avoids legislation against these butcheries of humans by humans since the most of MPA’s and MNA’s are tribal chiefs themselves and they will never legislate against these crimes as they are well aware that legislation against these tribal disputes means curtailing their powers and monetary loss for them.
It is high time that civil society, legal fraternity, writers, human rights defenders must come forward to stop this massacre in the name tribal disputes and Supreme Court of Pakistan must take notice of these cold-blooded murders of people. Thousands of precious lives are lost due to some small differences that tarnish the image of civilized nations. We are a peaceful nation and should resolve the issues peacefully rather than take innocent lives. The Government should ban the jirgas completely and all murders under the guise of Honour Killings and Tribal disputes should be treated as murder against humanity and must be awarded exemplary punishments. Even Government should stop issuing licenses to civilians and start a disarmament drive to retrieve weapons from the public and de-escalate the situation between the tribes. The civil society must create awareness against these tribal disputes and promote love and harmony among the communities so that they may settle their differences peacefully and never engage in fighting and precious human lives could be saved especially the students.
— The writer is freelance columnist, based in Sindh.