ALTHOUGH the ‘jirga’ system, notorious for its controversial decisions, such as honour killing and revenge-rape, is not in accordance with the Constitution, it is still prevalent in many parts of the country.

Some 12 years ago, the Sindh High Court had banned all types of ‘jirgas’ and ‘panchayats’ across the province, but the unfortunate practice continues in one form or the other across the country.

These self-styled ‘panchayats’ and ‘jirgas’ are the weapons of feudal lords to enforce their authority and keep their opponents and the poor under their influence. They take advantage of the law and insufficient evidence to mislead the legal justice trial and ultimately get out of jail on bail.

How can a state allow an organisation, a traditional body or an individual to run a parallel judicial system which has no place in the Constitution? It is the fundamental right of every person to have recourse to the law of the land and to have a fair trial.

A court of law requires a department of prosecution, defence counsel and law enforcement agencies to enforce its decision. If there is an impediment to the execution of any person or entity, the law enforcement agencies remove it and ensure execution of court’s decisions.

Similarly, if a false case has been made against an innocent person, recourse to appeal, revisions and reviews are available against the execution of any decision by lower courts.

On the contrary, it is unconstitutional to allow anyone to hear a case, summon a common man, give the verdict, and force the people to accept the illegal, immoral verdict. Such decisions push society towards lawlessness and anarchy.

While the country’s judicial system needs a lot of improvement, it does not mean that a citizen should be left on the mercy of so-called conciliatory outlets. Legislation should be enacted to ban all parallel judicial practices.

Naeem Khan Qaisrani
Karachi

Published in Dawn, January 18th, 2021

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