September 16th, 2020
By Arshad Mohmand
Even after the merger of FATA with Khyber Pakhtunkhwa, there have been several incidents of violence at the hands of local militias in the tribal districts. One such action occurred on the 6th of August when a local militia destroyed a Sabir’s house after a tribal feud in the Mamad Gaat, Tehsil Saafi, District Mohmand.
“They snatched away my children’s home from them. I was out working at the time the women of my family were sleeping at the time. When I came back from work I saw rubble where my house used to be. This is not justice”, says Sabir with tears rolling down his eyes.
Before the FATA merger, local Jirgas were called to address, resolve, and pass judgments on conflicts. The Jirga had complete authority to order the use of violence against local militias. But even now when the constitution has been extended to ex-Fata and local courts have been established incidents of Jirgas passing judgments occur routinely, even though the practice has been declared illegal and unconstitutional.
“Jirgas no longer have the right to destroy anyone’s house anymore. It is a violation of the fundamental rights and protecting the fundamental human rights of citizens is the responsibility of the state”, says Advocate Bashir Saafi.
According to DPO Mohmand Tariq Habib, those involved in recent incidents of collective violence in Safi Tehsil have been arrested and their cases are pending in courts.
“I would like to make a sincere request to all tribal elders. The time of militias and tribal feuds has gone by. The practice has been abolished in the entire world. If someone feels that they have been subjected to the injustice they can approach the police and the courts”, says DPO Tariq Habib.
The local administration of Mohmand claims that cases of violence by tribal militias have declined significantly even though the tradition persists in some areas and the government is trying its level best to eradicate the practice.