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The National Assembly on Friday passed a bill giving legal and constitutional cover to the centuries old jirga and panchayat systems in the country with a view to ensure speedy resolution of petty civil matters and reduce the burden of litigations on the courts.

The bill was tabled by Law Minister Zahid Hamid and is enforced with immediate effect from Friday in the federal capital. Gradually it will be implemented in provinces with the consent of provincial governments as amendments in civil laws are in the domain of the provincies.

The law minister told the house that either the federal government will request provinces or the provinces will request the federal government for implementation of the new legislation.

“The system exists in the country for the last several years and we are giving it a legal cover,” the minister added.

The bill called Alternate Dispute Resolution (ADR) Bill-2016 was passed by 23 members - 17 from the treasury benches and six from the opposition out of total house of 342.

The law minister also told the house that the ADR system will settle 23 types of civil and criminal disputes.

Members of the opposition benches from the PPP, Pakistan Tehreek-i-Insaf (PTI) and the Muttahida Qaumi Movement (MQM) raised some objections on the bill, but eventually passed it.

Under ADR system mediators, who will be called ‘Neutrals’, will be appointed by the government to settle disputes as the judge.

“Under the system the government will appoint panels of Neutrals in all districts in consultation with the relevant high courts and the courts will appoint them as mediators in different disputes,” Hamid said.

The PTI and PPP leaders supported the bill but raised some concerns. PTI leader Shafqat Mehmood questioned the appointment of ‘Neutrals’ in the Panchayat system.

PPP leader Nafisa Shah and PTI leader Dr Shireen Mazari expressed concerns over rights of women in the system and demanded women ‘Neutrals’ too.

“The dispute will be settled with consent of both parties in the dispute and if any woman feels that she is not being given justice, she can move the court,” added Hamid.

The law minister said there will be no punishment in the disputes to be settled by the ADR system.

Disputes under ADR system will be heard in ADR centers to be notified by the government.

Regarding appointment of Neutrals, the bill said: “The government, after consultation with the high court, shall notify in the official gazette a panel of neutrals for each district from amongst lawyers, retired Judges of superior and subordinate judiciare, retired civil servants, social workers, ulema, jurists, technocrats and expels and such other persons of repute and integrity having such qualifications and, c experience as may prescribed.”

The bill added that complaints will be lodged at an ADR centre and it will refer the matter to a ‘Neutral’ or such other person as may be agreed upon by the parties.

Comments (60) Closed

Munib Feb 03, 2017 09:05pm

Completely screwed now. Its madness...! why not make more small local courts, this will also create job in law firm and its industries, handful or British bureaucracy handled and managed the whole INDIAN -Sub Continent.

Bashir Feb 03, 2017 09:00pm

This is a retrogressive step. Instead of breaking the stranglehold of landlords on poor peasants this law will further strengthen the feudal system. Remember it is the jirgas which force women to be raped and young girls given away to punish poor people. Absolutely disgusted!!!

Waaris Feb 03, 2017 09:02pm

This is going back to the Stone Age!! Any such parallel system is regarded as state within state and spells disaster for the integrity and security of any country!! Indeed a very sad day for Pakistan.

Ghaznavi Feb 03, 2017 09:10pm

Welcome back to dark ages. Wondering why we take a step forward followed by two steps back.

U Rana Feb 03, 2017 09:11pm

Passing bills never assures their credible implementation. Corruption has taken over our system like an octopus.

Naveed J. Feb 03, 2017 09:20pm

What a joke, these parliamentarians are taking us in Stone Age. We don't need Jirgas and Panchayats, all we need is speedy justice through the courts.

Justwasif Feb 03, 2017 09:17pm

Darkest day in Pakistan's history... Shows how weak and unreliable our judicial system is.

Hassan (Karachi) Feb 03, 2017 09:29pm

How is this legal? Bypassing the Judicial process and giving these Jirgas legal cover. We have seen time and again Jirga not only failing but being part of the problem. Did they forget the immolation of this girl by Jirga,

ADNAN MAZHER khan Feb 03, 2017 09:25pm

Highly objectionable. These political parties do not agree on military courts but agree upon for Jirga system. This is bad, really bad

Ahsan Gul Feb 03, 2017 09:27pm

Anyone with a little intelligence can tell that this is a political move. How - all those rural and villages people will be listening to Patvaries and landlords. These two parties PML-N and PPP can influence votes in the coming elections.

Justwasif Feb 03, 2017 09:29pm

Greatest joke with nation

Salman Feb 03, 2017 09:35pm

So now punchayat and Jirga will have legal protections to their illegal and inhuman decisions? Is it the whole idea behind this bill ?? Instead of reinforcing the justice system, we are handing over the poor and deprived people to the Stone Age system!! Let's see how SC will react to it??? Feeling ashamed!!!

Youth Feb 03, 2017 09:49pm

"NA passes bill giving constitutional cover to jirga, panchayat systems" Meaning more honour killings, Vani in Sindh and equivalent killing in other provinces. In an age of education, illiterates are being empowered to do justice. O GOD please have mercy, please save women & young girls from the wrath of illiterate jirgas made legal

flipflop Feb 03, 2017 09:54pm

This is dumb !! It is time for people to be judged under the same law that all of Pakistan is governed by. Enough with the jirga. It's time to bring and integrate all these people with the society. If this is not done then there will never be any stability in this country.

Raja Islam Feb 03, 2017 10:10pm

Looks like Pakistan wants to head backwards in all aspects of life. If the judicial system is broken then fix it. Do not create a parallel system. This is the same story as madarsahs versus schools.

N_Saq Feb 03, 2017 10:13pm

It is okay if the arbitration is conducted by a retired judge and both parties are represented by lawyers so that the rich and powerful cannot enforce their will on the poor i.e. the poor and uneducated clearly understand the process and his/her rights. Also, either party to the dispute should have the right to either accept or reject the verdict and can approach the courts i.e. the verdict should be binding only if both parties agree to it. Also, all cases with final verdict must be filed with the courts so that the courts should ensure that proper legal process was followed and that the verdict was not forced down someones throat i.e. the verdict make sense to the courts and can be used as a precedent otherwise the courts should send the case back to be deliberated again or refiled with the courts. Finally, the arbitration should be for disputes in civil matter of $10 or less value and all other cases are dealt by the courts.

Danish Feb 03, 2017 10:20pm

Every time something bad happened in Pakistan I feel that it was worst, then our great politicians prove me wrong.

Life Feb 03, 2017 10:33pm

Untill the last NA session, I was reading that there was a lot of unrest and lawmakers were fist fighting with each other. When they get time to debate on this crucial bill before passing it?

Sam Feb 03, 2017 10:34pm

Speechless... this is definatly not what "naya Pakistan" means by any means....

Syed Zafat Kazmi U.S.A Feb 03, 2017 10:35pm

Jirga & Panchayet is a archaic system of brutality and oppressive control on the lives of common ordinary people by the feudal and industrialist class of this hapless nation. Instead of being abolished, this oppressive system is being legitimized and given more power by the very organ-the parliament-supposed to be the voice and representative of the people. What a tragic travesty-those very who are supposed to represent people's interests so overly collude with the government against the people. Pakistan does need a revolution from the grassroots level or extinction is the only alternate route of nature.

Halim Feb 03, 2017 10:51pm

And after that let's take panamagate case to the panchayat

Skkk Feb 03, 2017 10:52pm

This is a good system and is in use in many countries including Japan. i would like to see details though. It can result in legally rejecting cases which are against human rights, reducing burden on courts for solving many cases, bringing jirgas under the courts etc.

usman Toronto Feb 03, 2017 10:59pm

This is buzzer retarted parliament. I haven't expected more than that. Half of population of parliament are feudal lords and now this legislation is nail in coffin. Congration for people for Pakistan for shameful bill passes from parliament

Philosopher(from japan) Feb 03, 2017 10:59pm

What? Say bye bye to official judiciary. Off course we are heading in backward direction. Thanks to mullah.

Harun al shEikh Feb 03, 2017 11:06pm

Unnecessary shout. Panchayat system has history over thousands of years.

Power must penetrate to lowest unit i.e. village.

alien Feb 03, 2017 11:18pm

what a joke ..are they really stupid sitting in Pakistan NA.....

layman Feb 03, 2017 11:29pm

If really this bill passed in good faith than OK, yes there are petty issues in far flung areas,and can be solved locally.

Dilawar Feb 03, 2017 11:35pm

Choudharies and Sardars will rule again with legal cover. Do you seriously think influential fuedals will let anyone else decide these matters. Shame on PMLN. Country is fast tracked to Stone Age

tomywahala Feb 03, 2017 11:40pm

@Bashir then no one will agree to it. besides, they'll be jailed.

Sami Feb 03, 2017 11:38pm

To all of my fellows who are criticizing this piece of legislation on the myopic understanding of the whole law. The 'Neutral' will not be landlord or a feudal, nor anything like this is written in this Bill. Furthermore, this system will work under the direct supervision of respective High Courts of the provinces. This country is still running on tribal values and a lot of rural people resort to these informal judicial forums. This is a laudable effort from government to institutionalize this parallel judicial system which has strong social acceptance and influence in our 60% rural society.

Adil Jadoon Feb 03, 2017 11:41pm

So are these people going to be trained in the laws of the country....regressive move!

tomywahala Feb 03, 2017 11:41pm

@Bashir what's jirga?

Farrukh Feb 03, 2017 11:45pm

We heard stories of Jirgas ordering murder of minor girl because she ran away to save her life or many things along this line. How can you make such a system legal, where are the minds of these politicians ? In what century do we live ?

M.Sethi Feb 03, 2017 11:52pm

Bad decision, giving legal cover to illiterate unqualified individuals with the power to set up parallel judicial lower level trial courts to settle community based conflicts and disputes ...they have legalized undesired traditions, such as Karo Kari,Wani etc

Naz Feb 03, 2017 11:47pm

I congratulate all liberals who have been supporting PML against PTI. I hope you are happy !

asif khan Feb 03, 2017 11:47pm

shame only 23 members out of 342 members. this is called democrazy.

tariq rashid Feb 04, 2017 12:15am

what a pseudo law minister with pseudo idea of presenting dark age bill and who gave these 23 thugs to impose this unacceptable system on the nation without any consensus on the issue. Instead of improving the working of courts they are coming up with this bizarre system.. they should feel ashamed...

AA Feb 04, 2017 12:17am

Why was this bill needed? Why are we hell bent to have a state within the state? This bill also gives some legal justification to taliban courts...think about it

Salman Feb 04, 2017 12:43am

@Halim beautiful!

Salman Feb 04, 2017 12:38am

@alien We had chosen them and will continue to do so!

Waaris Feb 04, 2017 01:00am

It is apparent in the name Alternate dispute resolution meaning mainstream system of justice ha been failed by politicians.

Naveed jafri Feb 04, 2017 01:35am

They are delivering on "Naya Pakistan" promise

SAMI Feb 04, 2017 01:49am

Countries are moving forward We are going backword Its already jungle kingdom and their target is to go back to stone age

Jawad Feb 04, 2017 02:00am

Pakistan is going back to stone age, this is nonsense. How can government be this stupid?? These panchayat system is the most corrupted system in pakistan they do not follow law and order. This is unbelievable.

tomywahala Feb 04, 2017 02:02am

@SAMI that's okay too!

tomywahala Feb 04, 2017 02:12am

@flipflop then they will keep rejecting it until it goes to the court.

Khan USA Feb 04, 2017 02:16am

Legal cover to Jirga which gives wani and Karo Kari ?

Thoughtful Feb 04, 2017 02:24am

A clear sign where Pakistan stands in the modern world.

Muslim Feb 04, 2017 03:21am

I want to slap all those who voted for PMLN

Abu Azaan Feb 04, 2017 05:16am

I hope they wouldn't push a six year old baby to marry to a 30 year old man

dPatel Feb 04, 2017 06:45am

In India, every few years there is an election for Pachayat officials. I have earliest memory of an elections in my village. In one such election a farmer housewife ran and won. Is Jirga the same way?

Red Dawn Feb 04, 2017 07:32am

I think it can have beneficail effects only if implemented in following way:

  1. Names of jirga members be submitted to local law enforcement (So that it they make decisions against penal system, they can be caught and punished)
  2. Decisions they make be submitted to local law enforcement (To judge their legality)
  3. Proceedings of their decision making process be recorded and submitted to local law enforcement agencies (to ensure fairness).
  4. Jirga members having limited tenure.
AXH Feb 04, 2017 08:12am

Bad idea.

Heal Feb 04, 2017 09:30am

@Muslim before you slap those people who voted for PML N please read the news carefully:

"Members of the opposition benches from the PPP, Pakistan Tehreek-i-Insaf (PTI) and the Muttahida Qaumi Movement (MQM) raised some objections on the bill, but eventually passed it."

Now decide whom would you like to slap!

Saeed Feb 04, 2017 10:32am

Ok but if neutrals are appointed by the govt then it is same politicization of any decision. Matters should be reported to ADR centre with suggested neutrals, ADR should call the other party and give time to suggest their nneutrals. Then ADR should fix date for hearing the case in presence of neutrals.

lily Al Feb 04, 2017 10:50am

That's barbaric... injustice with majority and what does it mean that only 23 passed the bill out of 342

lily Al Feb 04, 2017 10:53am

Stop Help those who are dying... Our mothers sisters daughters ...

Fawzia H Feb 04, 2017 11:13am

This is ridiculous. Instead of the country moving ahead towards lawful governance, we are going into the dark ages with the failed and malevolent panchayat and jirga system.

Fazeel Mehboob Feb 04, 2017 11:39am

This is a good practice by the way. The only problem is with the procedure and how to operate it. If you implement this practice with its real soul, definitely it would work better but if didn't it will revert back with big disaster in the country specially to poor and deprived people.

syedghulamabbasshah Feb 04, 2017 02:20pm

Uneducated will prevail now as they were before,bran no brain will stand supreme legally. Who will punish the rich&influencials. That's why masses wants to run away to overseas countries. !!