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Pachayat law in Pakistan!

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    Pachayat law in Pakistan!

    How does one hang onto ones pride as a Pakistani? How does one go on claiming that these are isolated instances?


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    http://www.dailytimes.com.pk/default...5-7-2002_pg3_7
    Second opinion: The violence of the Panchayat

    Khaled Ahmed’s Urdu Press Review

    The panchayat was a more defective institution because of the lack of ‘equality’ of the tribal environment in the plains. As Pakistan fights political terror, the panchayat and its various mutations are aggressively sanctioning violence against the under-privileged segments of the population

    In parallel with the growth of terrorism in Pakistan, there is also violence in the social institutions. If one takes a closer look at Pakistani society, social violence took root much earlier than political or religious violence. Human rights organisations have always reported cases of social violence against the minority communities and against women. Our social institutions were never ideal. They reflected the power relations within society. The jirga could never punish the powerful clan under which it functioned. The panchayat was a more defective institution because of lack of ‘equality’ in the tribal environment in the plains. As Pakistan fights political terror, the panchayat and its various mutations are aggressively sanctioning violence against the under-privileged segments of the population.

    According to Khabrain, in Jatoi near Muzaffargarh in Punjab a panchayat (elders’ council) of the Mastoi tribe decided that an innocent daughter of a labourer should be raped by four people as justice for the complainant who had alleged that the labourer’s son had relations with his daughter. The innocent girl who was a reciter of the Quran was taken into a room by four men in front of one thousand spectators and raped. When she screamed the women of the village cried and hid themselves. The girl was sent home naked after the rape. Governor Punjab gave instructions after which the panchayat was arrested. According to Khabrain, this action was followed by another rape of a poor girl by two armed Mastoi feudals. The police let the culprits off, after which the girl committed suicide by drinking poison. Further details by Khabrain related to the Mastoi Baloch living in Jatoi. Rape and theft was their pastime. Earlier two daughters of a poor farmer were raped in broad daylight when he refused to leave the area. The wife of one Hameed was raped by six Mastois in front of the panchayat which was formed of Mastois. When one Ghulam Hussain protested, he was buggered by the Mastois. When asked not to peek inside their homes the Mastois beat up and wounded the inmates of a house. The Baloch have illegally occupied 20 squares of land gifted by Sardar Koray (Whip) Khan to the state.

    Credit for bringing the evil of the Jatoi panchayat to public view goes to daily ‘Khabrain’. The rest of the press was alerted to it after the BBC picked up the story. Pakistani press, especially English, is flawed in the sense that it does not report adequately from the countryside. District correspondents are usually Urdu writers, which means that the English press stays out of the countryside where most of the Pakistanis live. The correspondents live in a system that doesn’t allow them to be as independent as they should be, and for that their system of remuneration is partly to blame.

    According to daily ‘Din’ (6 July 2002), 22 women were subjected to gang-rape in the Muzaffargarh area of Punjab in one month. The disease is so widespread that the panchayats of the area have themselves begun to resort to them as punishment. Women are picked up from the fields by groups of men, violated, and left for dead. Daily ‘Nawa-e-Waqt’ (5 July 2002) reported that the panchayat-ordered rape of a girl in Jatoi Muzaffargarh was no isolated case in Pakistan. Women often pay the price of false honour in Pakistan. Women are forced to marry to resolve disputes. In Attock, a doctor girl had to marry a 70-year-old man to prevent her brother from being killed by rivals. In Dunyapur, a girl contracting ‘love marriage’ was killed on the order of panchayat and no one took notice of it. Men who undressed 11 girls and made them dance naked in the Zia Era are out of jail and roaming about unreformed.

    It is obvious that the focus on the Muzaffargarh incident, and the action taken by the government against the perpetrators and the police officers who colluded with the panchayat has encouraged similar reports from other districts, bringing to light a phenomenon that has gripped the entire province.

    According to ‘Jang’ (8 July 2002), cases of rape in Punjab had registered a hundred percent increase. The highest number of rapes in the past were committed in 1995 when 340 women were dishonoured. In the first 5 months of 2002, already 521 women had been raped. Out of 3,000 cases of rape only 80 rapists had been punished in the court of law.

    Rape occurs in societies under some kind of duress. It happened in South Africa after the dismantlement of apartheid. In Punjab it has increased because of the laxity of the control of the state and the rise of groups that operate in defiance of the state but with religious sanction.

    Reported in daily ‘Pakistan’ (6 July 2002) in a village Chak Jhumra Faisalabad an imam of a mosque persuaded the local population to catch hold of one Zahid and stab him before stoning him to death. The accusation was that he had insulted the Quran. He had been accused of this in 1994 and was on bail on the basis of mental disturbance. He had quit the village but had returned, which infuriated the cleric, the original accuser in 1994. This time he did not have recourse to law.

    The imam played the role of the panchayat in this case. Although the Urdu press played down the culpability of the mosque imam, it has come to light that the man abused the blasphemy law to kill the man he wanted to kill.
    According to ‘Nawa-e-Waqt’ (9 July 2002), a khateeb of a mosque near Faisalabad was fulminating against the Musharraf government and America when a Pakistani American Farhad Javed, visiting his home town, tried to stop him from making a political speech in the mosque. He wanted him instead to discuss Islam. The khateeb flew into a rage and accused him of blasphemy, then took a procession of enraged people to his house and tried to stone him to death. Before the stoning attempt a panchayat of the town okayed the decision of the khateeb. Two cases were registered on the insistence of the American embassy against the offenders. The khateeb and a number of attackers were arrested.

    The evil of the panchayat has again arisen against the background of the inability of the state to control the population. The trigger is the abuse of a defective law that the state finds itself unable to revise. Religion minister Dr Ghazi in his latest statement has defended the law as it is, which means the violence has sanction from religious scholars. These cases of violence are actually symptoms of a deep malaise. There is the widespread belief that the state no longer acts according to Islam and that violence should be used in the hiatus of law that exists in the countryside.



    [This message has been edited by OldLahori (edited July 14, 2002).]

    #2
    Hopefully, when this panchayat, which gave the orders of raping that girl, will be punished the others would have to think millions of times before giving similar orders.

    Comment


      #3
      Old Lahori, thank you for bringing the article into light. Though, I do agree with the author, that the people are using this blasphemy law for their own vendattas, however, that does'nt mean that we should just go ahead and abolish the law. In my opinion, what we need to work on is the implementation of the law( the mechanism ). Last year, what president was trying to do, was not abolish the law, but instead make it more difficult for anybody to abuse the b-law. I think that was a very right approach.
      On the other hand, I also think that the government needs to chalk out, what constitutes blasphemy. Once we have a clear picture of what constitutes blasphemy, then the law can be used for its true intended use only...

      [This message has been edited by ZulfiOKC (edited July 14, 2002).]
      Unity, Faith & Discipline....
      --Jinnah

      Comment


        #4
        Originally posted by zaavia:
        Hopefully, when this panchayat, which gave the orders of raping that girl, will be punished the others would have to think millions of times before giving similar orders.
        Zaavia ji, I totally agree with you, I think we nned to make an example out of them, so that next time no body dares to commit such an act. I also think that these people should be tried in terrorism courts....

        Unity, Faith & Discipline....
        --Jinnah

        Comment


          #5
          ZulfiOKC: I have gone back and edited the article to highlight that the issue is not really one panchayat or one person. I doubt that punishing one panchayat is going to solve this disease in Pakistan. However, I hope you are right, and I am wrong. In another article I read that a lot of the SHO's that have been appointed over the last decade are convicted criminals themselves, and then the feudals in rural areas are a law unto themselves. My heart and prayer goes out for the poor and the weak who have to suffer the injustice. May Allha give them patience, courage and peace.

          Comment


            #6
            Originally posted by OldLahori:
            ZulfiOKC: I have gone back and edited the article to highlight that the issue is not really one panchayat or one person. I doubt that punishing one panchayat is going to solve this disease in Pakistan. However, I hope you are right, and I am wrong. In another article I read that a lot of the SHO's that have been appointed over the last decade are convicted criminals themselves, and then the feudals in rural areas are a law unto themselves. My heart and prayer goes out for the poor and the weak who have to suffer the injustice. May Allha give them patience, courage and peace.
            Aameen

            Comment

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