I want to draw attention towards a major issue of Pakistan and its abundant effect on society, the Jirga system. The jirga is one of the informal institutions that has very formal effects on the Sindhi society in general and the tribal society of Pakistan in particular. It is the judicial administration where cases are tried and rewards and punishments are inflicted. The head of the area seems to have the authority to decide the local issues of common and middle classes. This is basically a men-only affair which results in great damage especially to women rights. Pakistan was dubbed as the third most dangerous country for women in the world because of this jirga (panchait) system.  

It is prevalent in most parts of the country where women are harshly punished. These aforesaid atrocious incidents of Jirga’s justice are not new in Pakistan; many people have suffered due to this deep rooted and antediluvian system of informal justice. Innumerable women have been killed, mutilated, raped, paraded unclothed and swapped in marriage as a payback or in compromise for wrongdoings normally committed by their male kin. The jirga is essentially a tribal council, one that incorporates local customary laws and rituals in order to settle the dispute that takes place between the members of that village. The greatest paradox is that the police and civil administration have always patronized and encouraged Jirgas instead of taking action. The local law enforcing agencies are happy if the crimes are not reported and are settled informally. 

I would request our unprecedented Government to take keen interest in paying attention to this issue and to try to control this inhuman activity and save mankind. This is a bold and patriotic step towards the bright success of our country. 

SADAN KHAN,  

Karachi, March 21.