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Home > Country profiles > Pakistan > Articles > Article detail

Outsourcing justice

Wednesday, 9th February 2017

"BY passing a bill that gives legal and constitutional cover to the jirga and panchayat system of dispute resolution, the National Assembly has only highlighted its own weaknesses. The non-serious approach to the matter must also be criticised: only 23 members of the house were present, and none of them pointed out the lack of quorum, allowing the crucial responsibility of administering justice to be outsourced to some of the most regressive elements in society. It may be true that the jirga and panchayat system has existed in the country for centuries, but that does not mean it should be handed the responsibility to administer justice, even in supposedly minor cases. Over the years, this system has given us heinous ‘judgements’, supposedly endorsed by ‘tradition’, such as vani where young girls are forcibly married off in order to settle disputes or enmities. If the law minister, who introduced the bill, thinks that the provision of attaching ‘neutral arbitrators’ to each case is sufficient to ensure that the verdicts pronounced will be in accordance with the law and fundamental rights, and will protect the rights of women, then it can reasonably be assumed that he is washing his hands of the responsibility of providing justice to the common citizens of this land."


Language: English

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