BY AHMAD ALI
Jirga system is very deep rooted in Pakhtoon culture,custom and traditions.So it is pertinent here to have a brief and comprehensive introductory note on Jirga system.It will help to remove misunderstanding and despicable notion prevailing in the world as this nation,unluckily,has been depicted to the world by certain elements for their vested interests as war monger,barbaric,wild extremists and terrorists threatening world peace,security and stability.Jirga is one of the oldest,ancient and historical institution.It is as old as the Pakhtoon ethnicity( more than 5500 years old)itself.Jirga is an identity and symbol of Pakhtoon who are peace loving,anti dictatorship and democratic minded by nature.However through Jirgas contemporary issues of individual and collective nature are resolved amicably,whatever the nature of dispute may be,in the light of Sharia and in accordance with custom and traditions.The codes of Pakhtoonwali having close similarity with codes of Sharia.The Pakhtoon deal their daily affairs by mutual consultation while the Jirga is broad based consisting of honest,experienced, revered and veteran elders which makes decision regarding various social and security issues in tribal and family feuds and rivalaries.Its decision are accepted an implemented with responsibility by the concerned parties having no choice.Hence its decisions are commonly unanimous and rational reached on the basis of reasoning keeping in view all aspects of dispute.Whereas Jirga taking free,impartial and independent decision and avoiding inordinate delay.All members explain and clarify their position and give advice.Since independence Pak rulers always promising inhabitants of FATA for development in different walks of life,rule of law,justice and fairplay but in fact people still deprived of their basic human rights and necessities of life.Thus it was\is Jirga which is instrumental in keeping peace and dispensation of justice as an institution trusted and respected by the people. So it works for betterment and conciliation.Unlike past,due to change in social conditions,instead of verbal promise Jirga taking agreement in black and white and cash amount of money as a guarantee.In case of defiance punitive measures are taken by forming tribal lashkars which implement decision without dilly dallying. As Jirga system was based on safe and sound bases but its foundations has been shattered and its future is bleak due to presence of militants strongholds in FATA and settled areas.Whereas till Oct 2007,more than 270 tribal elders and Ulemas were systematically and brutally killed in South Waziristan for allegedly their involvement in spying for US but neither culprits has been apprehended nor it has been substantiated that they were really guilty of spying..Due to their status,influence,financial and military might these militants even targeted traditional,prestigious and sacred Jirgas through suicide bombing first in Darra Adam Khel in Feb 08 in which 45 tribal elders lost their lives and some injured.In Oct this year in Orakzai Agency a Jirga of 600 elders was attacked by suicide bomber in which death toll reached to 133 and including many injuries.who were punished for bringing peace in their area and forming Lashkars to fight militants.In mid Oct a Jirga in Swat in a mosque was attacked by militant in which 12 elders were killed and 60 were made hostages they were freed later on the condition of not forming Lashkars against militants.In Nov in Bajaur Agency a Jirga was attacked in which 30 tribal elders lost their lives and similarly in another attack on a Mosqu during prayer time in which youths and elders died 22 in number.While recent inhuman,barbaric and uncivilized act of militants hanging dead bodies of Pir Sami Ullah and his two colleagues dug out after burial.The beheading and decapitating of innocent and hanging of dead bodies is absolutely strange trend to our society.Since Pak alignment in US lead alliance in the war against terror which after an ephemeral victory followed by guerrilla warfare.Its spill over venomous impacts were soon visible in FATA.So since Feb 04 it caused greater loss of lives,properties and ruined social structure in tribal and settled areas.Even loyal,honest,wise and prudent elders and bold and courageous heads of Lashkars were brutally killed.So it shattered people’s hopes and confidence and jeopardized peace,unity brotherhood and nationhood.However militants local and foreigners have safe havens and strong hold in FATA, Frontier region and Swat and there is completely a seething unrest.The protection of life and limb of the common citizens is the prime responsibility of state institutions and law enforcing agencies.Even in the presence of more than 100000 military and paramilitary forces in FATA and nearly 25000 in Swat the situation is intractable.Thus the miserable failure of well equipped and well trained army and its huge intelligence network is beyond comprehension to trace,apprehend and punish the culprits.However formation of Jirgas and Lashkars to help restoring writ of the government and bring peace was a good omen but government utter failure to protect elders and heads of Lashkars disappointed people.Even many people and politician suspects and scathingly criticize army role and doubts federal government sincerity.Despite popular back up government failed to restore eroded writ of the state. .Hence the elected government sweeping or pushing every thing under the carpet and no facts of an enquiry has been revealed .The presence and suspicious activities of Army in FATA and Swat damaging credibility of government and Army as an institution again losing support and confidence of the nation,especially affected people,which is irreparable and perilous.There is no close coordination and control between civilian and military institutions.While some elements in intelligence agencies dominate the whole scene and non state actors are still at large due to lackluster,half hearted disconnected focus and insincerity to resolve this issue.Many politician and intellectuals making India security lapses and intelligence failure a laughing stock but not every thing in our homeland is rosy.Our history is replete with many political blunders and security lapses.The govt should fulfill its responsibility to encourage and protect Jirgas and Lashkars formed in the wake of public awareness and mobilization to fight barbaric militants.The action against militant outfits should be more than symbolic to strangulate these organization working illegally and contrary to constitution.Nonetheless these militants nurtured,trained and equipped under military patronage and so it is an incontrovertible fact.All military institutions should be made subservient to civilian government as is the practice in rest of the democratic states.There should be close coordination between civilian and military institutions to increase harmony and decrease trust deficit and institutional disconnect.