Tribal jirgas function as a parallel judicial system in the province where dissatisfaction with mainstream courts is common. But, composed of tribal elders who are all men, these jirgas often hand out deeply misogynistic verdicts, with the result that women who already suffer horrific rights abuses, have to face further victimization when they turn to the justice system for recompense, according to a report in The Express Tribune.
Women activists in Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa have taken the bold move of setting up the first female jirga to ensure justice for women. The formation of this jirga is an indication of the deterioration in women’s rights in the province. Female activists first sought entry into the male jirga, forming the female jirga only after they were rejected.
They claim to have helped in eleven cases involving abuse of women’s rights already. One of the most positive things about the female jirga is that it is not simply a parallel legal system; it is more of a support network for women which helps them get recourse through conventional channels.