Saeed Badshah Mohmand
In the Mohmand district, a series of positive developments took place involving tribal Jirgas, culminating in the resolution of three blood feuds within three weeks.
One of these cases involved ending the longstanding enmity between Sher Azam Khan and Zewar Shah. Sher Azam Khan explained that 22 months prior, a property dispute arose between the family of their cousin, Khaista Mir, son of Haji Khaista Gul (the first party), and the family of Zewar Shah and Zain Shah (the second party) in a nearby village. A dispute between the parties escalated into gunfire, resulting in the deaths of two individuals, Rasool Khan and a son from the first party, as well as Zewar Shah from the second party.
This sudden animosity adversely affected both families for two years, disrupting the education of children and the livelihoods of adults. Financial losses were incurred alongside the loss of life. Sher Azam Khan expressed gratitude to national leaders who earnestly intervened, persuading the parties to agree to end hostilities.
Sher Azam Khan pointed out that legal disputes in courts often drag on for years, incurring substantial financial costs. Conversely, the Jirga system and traditional customs lead to swift resolutions.
Zar Bacha, a local figure, played an active role in ending the blood feud that claimed three lives. He is a member of the ADR Jirga (Alternative Dispute Resolution), a government-established body for resolving disputes in the merged districts.
He explained that the tribal district had an existing Jirga system which became dormant after the merger. The legalization of the ADR Jirga revived this system, allowing national leaders to address disputes in the Mohmand tribal district alongside scholars.
The District Mohmand has 52 members in the ADR Jirga. Since 2021, the ADR Jirga has dealt with 160 cases involving property and disputes across various areas of the district, resulting in authorized decisions through party consensus. Most disputes have been resolved, with ongoing progress in resolving the remainder.
Additionally, the ADR Jirga handled three murder cases (302), successfully resolving the Babi Khel enmity. The practical experience of the people indicates that the National Jirga, including the ADR, offers a more effective platform than the court system for dispute resolution.
Initially, after the merger, all disputes were routed to the courts, causing delays due to the absence of tribal land records. By supporting tribal Jirgas, the government could prevent bloodshed and animosity by resolving numerous disputes through this traditional system.
Over the past months, Mohmand district has witnessed an increasing trend in resolving hostilities through Jirgas. In the recent three weeks, conciliation Jirgas successfully put an end to a two-year rivalry between the Khaista Mir and Zewar Shah families and a 12-year rivalry between the Gul Afzal and Abid Sultan factions in Tehsil Halimzai.
In Tehsil Safi, the local conciliation Jirga played a pivotal role in ending a 50-year-old rivalry between the rival Malik Nabi Sheikh and Mian Hawas Khan families. In all three cases, the families forgave each other, demonstrating the effectiveness of Jirgas in fostering reconciliation.
Deputy Commissioner District Mohmand, Dr. Ehtisham ul Haque, lauded the tribal Jirga and local customs. He noted that the Jirga system lost its effectiveness after the merger, as the powers of the APA or Political Agent were transferred to the Assistant Commissioner. Police and courts now handle crime and punishment in tribal districts, while smaller issues and local disputes are resolved through Jirgas. The district administration took a proactive step by utilizing the ADR Jirga to end the feud between the two families.
Dr. Ehtisham ul Haque highlighted that the resolution of a 302 case by the ADR Jirga was a significant milestone, offering his tribute to the Jirga members. He urged leaders and youth to solve issues through dialogue and Jirgas. The district administration pledged full support in this endeavor.
Tribal leader Haji Ahmed Khoezai explained that Mohmand tribes face two kinds of rivalries: one stemming from anger and malice, and the other arising from disputes over transactions, wealth, or property. He stressed the need to reevaluate these actions and praised the cooperation in ending hostilities and the success of the Jirga for a brighter future.