Thursday, November 26, 2009

The Jirga System by ishrat hussain ish

Features Of Justice Administration in Tribal Areas


1: The Jirga System:

Jirga is the customary judicial institution in which the cases are tried, rewards and punishments are inflicted. The use of Jirga is from the outset, not limited to trials of major or minor crimes and civil disputes but it also helps and assists in resolving conflicts and disputes b/w individuals, groups and tribes .It is the only vehicle through which the political administration in tribal areas asserts itself in different ways. Whenever, there is a clash or fight b/w two rival groups or clans in an agency, usually on their proprietary rights of certain land or mountain, the well armed rival groups dig in and the fight starts. This usually results in several deaths and dozens being wounded, paralyzing every day activity completely. The political administration lacks the authority to enforce peace. so jirga is held with the two sides separately; either a cease-fir is obtained, or a 'Tiga' is placed.

The origin of jirgas is lost in the mist of history. It may have been indigenous to pakhtun society or may have been brought along by central Asian invaders .Jirga is, however, an institution which helps to promote and enrich the pakhtun culture and values.

Different societies have their own traditions of justice like, the concept of puncbaiat in Sub-Continent or Anglo-American concept of Jury, in United States. These institutions are of historic importance, in which a group of people participates in major way in deciding cases brought to the trial. So Jirga is also one tradition of Justice.

2: Types of Jirga

Jirga and maraka, have similar meanings but with different connotations. The difference b/w the two based on its status with respect to authority .In a formal way the term jirga is commonly used in government circles .It is vested with legal authority in term of case referred to it by administrative court which is decided upon the recommendations of Jirga .In common Parlance the term Marka is used among the tribal people. The term Maraka is a much broader term in its scope and jurisdiction. It is a general gathering or assembly of people in which important collective issues are discussed, opinions sought, and decisions taken.

(i) Sarkari Jirga:

A group of elders designated by the magistrate The PA or APA) who are required to give a finding as to the guilt or innocence of the accused in criminal case or civil dispute. The frontier Crimes regulation1901,Authorising settlement of quarrels arising out of the blood-feuds, relating to zzun,zar,zamin(women,wealth and land), and all other questions affecting.

(ii) Qaumi or Ulusi Jirga:

When a represtative gathering is held, comprising all sections of a tribe to deliberate on the issues concerning the whole community or the tribe can be called a Qaumi Maraka. Whereas, the term Usually refers to that unit of people orginasedon the basis of village or area (mouzha) concerned. Therefore, Ulusi jirga is the assembly of elders of each household of a certain village to discuss collective matter such as collective property like Shamilat, right and distribution of irrigation water or common concerns like, selection of the possible site for a school, an irrigation project etc..

(iii)Sbakbi Jirga:

In case of a dispute b/w two individual or families, in order to avoid bloodshed they ask the elders to form a jirga to settle the dispute. Jirga members would gathers in council, listen to the parties and judge the rights and wrongs of the case.


The selection of jirga members varies according to the type of jirga.For sarkari jirga, usualy members are selected from the notables, spingiri (elders),or the maliks of the area.In an individual sbakbsi jirga the Govt. selects and appoints two members from his site whereas one member each is selected by the consent of the parties in the dispute. The PCR have provided for the constitution of an independent and imperial jirga in as such as party to the dispute has been given the right to nominate an equal number of their representative to safeguard their interests. In case, where the paries belong to different sects, then the members of the jirga will be taken from both the sects. The right of nomination for a jirga membership is always reserved with the administration.

Ref. (A Focus on Kurram).




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