Yet another gang-rape happening at a Panchayat’s order and virtually no hope that this barbarous practice, which is deemed ‘culture’ – would ever come to an end. This time around, the scene of the crime was Muzaffargarh where a helpless woman was subjected to gang-rape. And what was her fault? Her brother had been involved in a love affair with someone. The women in question had nothing to do with all this but was made to pay just for her brother’s propensities.

News stories have elicited a suo-moto notice by Chief Justice Jillani, which must be appreciated, though it goes without saying that suo-moto does not go anywhere near a permanent solution. Such notices have been taken in the past doing not so much to root out the affliction as showing the impulse to draw kudos from the bystanders.

There is hardly anyone, these days, who does not know why Panchayats are still business as usual. What has been missing is the initiative to take the bull by the horns. The problem starts with the virtual absence of judicial machinery; it simply gets complex owing to the fact that virtually every inch of our tribal and even rural areas are under the thumb of the tribal Sardars and Chieftain settled there. Whichever the definition of law and justice in the statute, it is finally defined and put to practice by the tribesmen.

Exemplary punishments do provide an answer but it is hardly ever that they are meted out. The entire struggle should start from Panchayats. These anachronistic relics from the stone age are the order of day, which gives all the more reason that something conclusive should be done.

If there is any kind of justice that Panchayat’s dispense, it is stoning women to death, ordering them to be gang-raped and committing other such barbarities. It beggars imagination that a state should have tolerance for them. In the race for suo-moto notices, can Chief Justice Jillani succeed where his predecessor had failed? The answer is more than obvious. Only when a decisive war is waged, will we see these jirgas buried into extinction.