A Jirga in a hamlet of Kohistan, Bando Baidar, recently declared four women and two men (fornicators) and damned them to death after they were purportedly caught on videotape singing and dancing together at a local wedding bash. Fortunately for the accused, law enforcement agencies in the village have intervened and have declared the death sentence null and void.
Reports have surfaced that the alleged people have been already killed but there seems to be confusion whether the women are alive or dead as some reports say that they are dead while the government denies it. Hopefully, the reports of them being killed are untrue, however from this whole development, one thing is clear that this Jirga system needs to be revised because mostly, the judges in these Jirga are ignorant and brutal individuals that know nothing about Islamic laws.
It has been more than a decade since the overthrowing of Talibanâ€™s government in Afghanistan but the effects of their regime still subsist in the land. According to a recent report by Human Rights Watch (HRW), there are several Afghan women (approximately 400) conking out in the prison for committing so called moral crimes that include running away from home and having an extra marital affair, despite the fact that these activities are not considered a crime under the Afghan Penal Code.
The current government of Afghanistan is an immensely western backed government and westerners are known to be extra sensitive about human, especially women rights. Therefore this development is extra surprising. Probably the Taliban mentality is too deeply embedded in the society and will take another decade to flush out of the system.
In our society, a couple usually covets giving birth to a male offspring than a female, because of social and economical reasons and also because of the fact, that a son is symbol of prestige in our culture. On the other hand, In Afghanistan, this desire to have a male child is so extreme that it has forced families not having any male child, to carry out a weird traditional practice of Bacha Posh– disguising girls as boys. There are several families in the country that have transformed one of their female children into a male by cutting their hair and cross-dressing them. Some have taken these extreme measures to avoid the taunts of relatives and people in the society while others- the financially deprived families, have disguised girls into boys in order to increase the number of breadwinners in the family.
Is it not clearly the violation of women rights?
When would the cruelty in different forms against the women end?
The international community and the human rights and women organizations should take a note of this and impress upon the Afghanistan government to address this issue.
Tehrik-e Taliban Pakistan (TTP) have announced that it is their shoora, which will decide the fate of more than two dozen youths recently kidnapped on the Afghan-Pak border. While TTP Commander Maulvi Faqir is playing the good cop routine and has assured to influence the shoora, for the safe release of the youth. Many of the naÃ¯ve may find this a good gesture by this particular mullah, but arenâ€™t his own men responsible for the kidnappings? Now after carrying out this crime, he has produced a shoora out of nowhere to resolve the issue, claiming his limitations. This baseless criminal act has only been carried out to silence the brave resistance put up by the tribesmen against these elements.
This year the festivities on Eid seem to be dampened by the recent events in the country. Whether rich or poor, belonging to any religion or ethnicity, no one is safe from the surge of insecurity in the country. Karachi with a background of ethnic and political tensions has become a slaughterhouse, while Chitral is turning out to be the next battle in the war on terror. There is a political turmoil and the administration is unable to focus on the issues of poverty, energy, security and illiteracy. There is fear and even for the survival of the country, in the face of this onslaught. The festivities might have been dampened, but let us all pray that the spirits of the Pakistani people are not and they would fight every crisis with determination.
Instead of looking into the report of Human Rights Watch (HRW) on Baluchistan and investigating the information laid down in it, our security establishment has plainly rejected it altogether. They have been, for reasons known and unknown; ignoring the hue and cry of citizens in the province. The citizens in Baluchistan are suffering at the hands of both militant and state elements, but the state apparatus always claim their hands to be clean of any foul play. This was also evident at Kharotabad, where unarmed people (alleged terrorists) were shot and killed, by security personnel, disregarding all laws of the land. It is important that if the buildup of grievances among the citizens of the province is to be curbed, the administration should take a serious initiative in preventing any future violation of human rights and investigate any such allegations, while providing justice to the victims.
It has been 65 years since Pakistan has attained its freedom. Like every other year the citizens of Pakistan celebrated the Independence Day with enthusiasm. But after all these years have we really made any progress or have we struggled just to maintain our existence? Our national sovereignty is under threat and this too by internal threats. Our education and health sectors are at an appalling state. Poverty is at a rise while, the quality of life for an average citizen has been decreasing. Where have we gone wrong? Perhaps a plethora of literature has already been written on this subject and a lot of finger pointing along with it. This is the time to focus our efforts in fighting the menace of radicalism, poverty and illiteracy which are plaguing our country.
Is our legal system flawed and abundant with loopholes and are these drawbacks resulting in actively supporting a takeover by the extremist mullahs and terrorists? Another one roams free, after spending 14 years in jail. Malik Muhammad Ishaq, founding member of banned outfit Lashkar-e Jhangvi was implicated in no less than 44 cases of sectarian violence and acts of terrorism, while he was also accused of attack on Srilankan team, but due to lack of evidence, charges have been dropped. More ominous is the fact that there were armed and unarmed supporters present outside the jail to celebrate his freedom. These terrorists fear nothing and the loopholes in the law allow them to carry out their malicious activities with impunity. One should not be surprised if even the killer of Salman Taseer, who killed in broad daylight and confessed; might be released on the basis of some legal technicality
A government spokesman in Islamabad termed U.S. Admiral Mike Mullens statement as â€œirresponsibleâ€, in which he stated that the Pakistani Government had sanctioned Saleem Shahzadâ€™s killing. One shudders to even think that this may be true; one prays that this is only be a misunderstanding. If this is true then it has defaced the nascent democratic structure of our country, for a long time. While the citizens of Pakistan have a long list of complains, where the institutions have failed to provide and the security situation has been deteriorating day by day; certain elements within the state are also carrying out killings? Let this not be true or it will be us, who will be termed irresponsible in the international community.
The eagerly awaited Kharotabad tribunal report has been pushed into the darkest pits, out of public view, by the Government of Baluchistan. Although, it has been reported that the Chief Minister ordered to release the report within 24 hours, but no steps seem to have been taken yet in this regard. Already the news seems to be fading away, as people will forget and go about with their busy lives of cursing power outages and bracing for fuel shortages. The gross human rights violations being conducted by the same security apparatus, responsible for upholding the law and protection of citizens, is a horrifying situation. The withholding of this report only proves that the tradition of cover-ups is still prevalent in our official structure, rather than addressing the issue head-on.