Gula Afridi

PESHAWAR: The process of implementation of merger of Fata with Khyber Pakhtunkhwa must be completed as quickly as possible to give people access to speedy and inexpensive justice and other rights.

The merger will be particularly beneficial for the women who will get rid of the un-Islamic and inhuman practices of Swara, Ghag and Badal etc. The merger will enable the women to enter marriage through a signature on a marriage form and nobody will be able to force her to marry someone against her wish.

Currently, the ugly practice of Swara is still practiced in some areas where girls are given in marriage to the rival party against her wish to settle disputes. Other practices like Badal (giving sister in marriage in return for brother’s marriage) and selling girls in the name of marriage (accepting money in return for girl’s marriage from her in-laws) are also haunting the tribal girls since centuries and they are now hoping that the merger with KP will ultimately end their ordeal.

The menace of honour killings is a stigma on the face of tribal culture which needs to be removed. Despite all talk of empowerment of women and increasing awareness about their rights, these practices still continue in the tribal areas and women are still being used as commodity by men to uphold their ‘honour’ and look after their children and domestic work without getting any right in ancestral property or other basic rights. Islamic teachings are very clear about the rights of women and their share in property, but in Pakhtun tribal culture, there is no mention of it. Such is the situation that the tribal Pakhtuns consider it a matter of dishonour to give share in property to their women.

The Jirga system, which was known for its quick justice, has now lost is splendour due to influx of corrupt elements and now people are increasingly looking towards the judicial system to resolve their disputes.

With the arrival of police and judicial system in the tribal areas, the women will have access to justice and platforms will be available for them to get their rights.

Men will equally benefit from the merger as women, as everyone will have opportunity to get jobs, which are currently under the tribal Maliks. The merger will end the system of exploitation by the few favoured people and ensure equality. Therefore, this process must be completed quickly.