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Chief Justice steps in to put a stop to jirgas in Sindh

KARACHI: Taking note of news reports about jirgas in Sindh ordering barter of girls to settle personal disputes, Chief Justice of Pakistan Iftikhar Muhammad Chaudhry has taken suo motu notice and ordered the Sindh advocate general to submit his report. A three-member apex court bench will initiate proceedings today.

Jirgas are assemblies of community elders that take decisions by consensus, particularly among the tribal people, to settle disputes within the communities. Earlier this week, illegal tribal courts had ordered giving four girls to the rival communities to settle personal enmities.

A tribal elder, Abdul Wahab Jatoi, held a jirga to settle a “karo-kari” case in Momin Jatoi village in Shikarpur. Waheed Jatoi had accused his relative of having illicit relations with his wife. The woman was killed allegedly by her husband four months ago but the suspect had been in hiding since then.

Earlier this week

The jirga found the defendant guilty of the charges and ordered him to marry off his two sisters and a niece to the complainant’s three sons. The girls are aged between six and eight years.

A separate jirga had ordered the marriage of a 13-year-old girl to a 50-year-old father of seven children, Ajan Odh, to settle a dispute in Pir Jo Goth, Khairpur.

The Suo moto

Four months ago, a Hindu couple had married of their freewill without their families consent. Headed by a community elder, Rahib Odh, the tribal court handed over a minor girl from the family to the aged complainant.

The suo motu comes in the wake of increasing media reports about the parallel judicial system running in the country. Previously, the Chief Justice of Pakistan has notably taken notice “on own motion” Karachi violence and the missing persons case.

The Express Tribune