Jun 28, 2020

Jirga Justice System

On hearing the word “Jirga”, the first question that comes to mind is what is Jirga? There are many different views on the nature and scope of the term Jirga. Most would describe it as an indigenous institution for dispute resolution in the Pukhtoon communities. Yes, it is, but is it more than this as well? 

Frozen in the history as the Pukhtoon nation froze, Jirga is an old custom with unmatched potentials for conflict resolution in the Pukhtoon belt of Pakistan and Afghanistan. It is a name given to the model, in which a Pukhtoon society operates, to undertake issues between individuals and between communities, to address concerns, and look for solutions acceptable to all stakeholders. 

As a blueprint of Pukhtoon life, Jirga is best summarized as a strategic exchange between two or more people to address an issue through verbal communication. The exchange may or may not result in an agreement on the issue, but the process itself leads the parties, including the interveners, to maintain a certain level of formal communication, thus ensuring peace. 

To a common person, Jirga is a body comprised of local, elderly, and influential men in Pukhtoon communities who undertake dispute resolution, primarily through the process of arbitration. Compared to the judicial system of the present day governments, Jirga ensures a fast and cheap justice to the people. Indigenous to Pukhtoon tribal communities, Jirga is alive even in the areas now influenced by an Anglo-Saxon legal system and is used for interpersonal dispute resolution. In the tribal areas, Jirga is the only vehicle through which the political administration dispenses justice... Continue to Chapter 1