‘Jirga system will co-exist with judiciary in merged districts’

Nabi Jan Orakzai

PESHAWAR: Eminent legal expert Fazal Shah Mohmand says the centuries-old Jirga system will survive in the tribal districts even after arrival of the judicial system.

In an interview with TNN, Fazal Shah Mohmand said the Constitution of Pakistan is now enforced in the tribal districts after merger with KP and now the system of police and judiciary of KP is also extended to erstwhile Fata. He said the system of dispute resolution councils (DRCs) is still available in KP which provides an option to both the sides in a dispute to approach the Jirga and enter reconciliation before knocking the door of the court.

“This facility particularly works well in issues involving family disputes. If the issue is resolved before reaching the court through a Jirga then it is well and good. If it doesn’t happen, then the option of going to court is available for both parties. So the people of the tribal districts will have legal protection and their traditional Jirga system will also coexist with the judiciary,” Fazal Shah said.

He said bringing change in the existing system and changing their mindset will certainly take time and problems will also surface in implementation of the new system from time to time.

“I personally believe that the courts should initially give Jirga a chance in the start to resolve a particular dispute. It will reduce burden on the courts and the traditions of the tribal people will also remain intact. If any group or party to dispute disagree with the Jirga decision, then they may approach the court for getting justice,” he opined.

Currently, he said, the cases pending with the assistant political agents, Fata Tribunals and commissioners will be shifted to the tribal courts. He said the cases which have been decided long time ago should not land in the courts again.

“As far as Jirga is concerned, no one can stop anyone from resolving disputes through the Jirga. If the parties to dispute agree to resolve their issue through tribal elders at a Jirga, then the country’s law doesn’t stop anyone from holding such Jirgas,” he said.