Role of the Tribal Jirga in Violence Against Women: A Case Study of Karo Kari in Sindh

The study seeks to identify the overall impact of tribal jirga system on the cases of karo kari in Sindh. Major findings of the study show that the codes, rules, regulations as well as verdicts of tribal jirgas are opposed to not only the formal law and the constitution of Pakistan but also international standards of human rights. In the eyes of tribal jirga, killing a woman in the name of honour is not a crime. Tribal jirga in place of considering the women killed as victim, considers the killer as a victim and grieved party, and in its process of verdict ensures compensation for the killer of the women and his family. Tribal jirga provides no opportunities to the accused women to defend themselves against the allegations leveled against them, but considers the testimony of their male relatives as the final word to declare women as Kari. Moreover, the women who decide on their own to marry any man of their choice are also declared Kari by the tribal jirga, despite their legal nikah.

While thoroughly examining the codes, rules, regulations and verdicts of the tribal jirga the study concludes that there are sufficient negative impacts of tribal jirgas on violence against women especially the cases of karo kari in Sindh, as the tribal jirgas not only provide relief to the killers but even encourage them on killing a women in the name of karo kari by providing them compensation in the form of cash or women. As a result by being encouraged by the tribal jirga, people usually kill their women on the baseless allegations of karo kari so as to extract money or other benefits from the men accused of being karo. The study recommendations strict ban on holding tribal jirgas, by further improving the laws which impose ban such jirgas as well as improving the implementation mechanisms for such laws. The study also suggests reforms in the country’s formal criminal laws as well as the laws dealing with violence against women. It also suggests that domestic violence be legally declared as criminal offence and procedure of getting FIR registered against the accused be made easy and simple for the women. The study also recommends increasing awareness and education in the rural society to root out karo kari.

Participatory Development Initiatives (PDI)
Publisher and location: 
PDI: Karachi, PK