Stories about jirga

Afghan-Pak: Cross border blame game

On August 3, about 16 mortar shells were fired from the Afghan side in Mohmand Agency and on August 4, the Afghan lower house of parliament, Wolesi Jirga blamed two key ministers of Hamid Karzai’s government over cross-border attacks from Pakistan in Kunar province. It demanded that Defence Minister Abdul Rahim Wardak and Interior Minister Bismillah Ahmadi be replaced as they failed to prevent the Pakistani attacks. So why are Pakistani forces being blamed in this incident when they only acted in self-defence after being attacked in Chitral, Dir, Bajaur and recently, in Mohmand Agency? And why is Pakistan not ...

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Kohistan jirga: The dirty picture

Yes, a picture is worth a thousand words and we all witnessed it when the Swat flogging video was released. Watching an innocent (and unidentified) woman so ruthlessly beaten by a masked Taliban made every Pakistani restless. This is not surprising given that our women are our ghairat (honour) and nobody has the right to mistreat them. News channels kept running the story over and over; cyber citizens gave it more value by posting it on blogs and all social networking websites; liberal and traditional scholars both heavily condemned the incident. Then, one fine morning, we came to know that it was a fake video. Since ...

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Misogyny in Haripur

It’s been almost one-and-a-half months since SB, the victim of a local jirga’s so-called justice, was made to flee from her village Neelor Bala near Haripur, after suffering the unbearable humiliation of being stripped and paraded naked. The woman was punished in this most horrific manner by four armed men, all brothers and wielding considerable influence locally, because her son and a relative were accused of sexually assaulting the wife of one of the perpetrators. The matter was taken to a local jirga which decided that the woman who had been raped – and apparently become pregnant — was now “haram” ...

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Why should feudals apologize?

I have grown up hearing all the stereotypes on television in newspapers. Feudals drive big jeeps (who cares how many books they read?). Feudals are the reason the country can’t prosper. Feudals abuse people in the name of tradition. But this ‘wadera’ boogeyman image is not accurate. I’m not saying that exploitation of the poor does not exist in rural Pakistan, but the facts that are often ignored are: Exploitation is not exclusive to the agricultural community. For every landlord who mistreats the people who depend on him for a livelihood, there are at least three who are actively working to provide services (services that every ...

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Failure of justice = power to the misogynistic jirga

If I were a murderer I’d love jirgas. In fact, I’d be thrilled at their judgments, at their twisted logic. After all, for any wrongdoing I committed, the retribution would fall not on me but on the women around me. On May 6, 2011, a jirga in Sindh handed over 12 girls to the victim party to settle a murder case. The youngest of them was five-years-old. How does that even work I’d like to know.  Kafka created a surreal world in which punishment for a crime was disproportionate to the offence. But we live in a reality where ...

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In memoriam: Abdul Wahab

Peace jirgas are groups of local elders from different tribal agencies who have decided to say no to terrorism. Their cause is to give a normal life to their families and they have decided to side with the army and government of Pakistan in an attempt to get rid of the insurgency in their area. In pursuit of peace they have often come under attack from misguided people who have gone to the extent of taking precious human lives, just because they think they are right and everyone else is wrong. They killed more than 40 people in Mohmand Agency yesterday (Tuesday) ...

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