Many a time, the remedies provided under the panchayat are not adequate or suitable for the offence committed. Justice in Panchayat is done with the help of local customs. Oftentimes, the offender does not get punished for the crime, rather, one of their family members face the brunt of his crime. This notion of justice does not conform to the established legal setup in the country.

One such tragic event occurred in Multan, lately. A man raped a 12-year-old girl on July 16. And in order to correct the wrong done to the victim, the Panchayat decided that the victim’s brother would rape the sister of the offender. Though the police have made some arrests after an FIR was launched, the question one needs to ask is; will these people be punished? Those who were involved in the case of Mukhtara Mai were set free at last.

The state till this day has failed to stop such barbaric practices that Panchayats carry out under the banner of local customs and traditions. Every now and then, newspapers cover stories of those who fall victim to the cruel decisions of panchayats. It is without any doubt a state failure that to this day, violence against women in rural areas is prevailing for a long time. It is standard practice for the government to hide its head in the sand whenever such actions are highlighted. Most of the times, proceedings of these panchayats do not care for the legal rights of women. But not only that, the decision taken in this case tells us that the objectives of the panchayat as a justice system are also completely different from the one in place through the constitution; the constitutional legal system punishes as a means of retribution, rehabilitation and deterrence, where the panchayat is only out for revenge.

The decision the Panchayat in Muzzafarabad made reveals one ugly and bitter facet of our society. It shows us that there are still parts of this country where a woman is treated as an object. She is looked down upon and is asked to sacrifice her life for a crime which she has not committed in the first place.