Voice of Khyber Pakhtunkhwa
Monday, September 26, 2022

First-ever Women Jirga —a ray of hope

The fact can not be denied that Pakistani society specially Khyber Pakhtunkhwa (KP) is male dominant and women are usually limited to their homes which is one of the reason for low literacy rate and increase in domestic violence against the women in the province.

Going against the tides, Tabbasum Adnan, hailing from Swat district of KP has formed the first-ever 25-member Women Jirga of the country back in 2013 which resolves the problems of the women.

Many of those working for the women rights and women empowerment have termed women Jirga of Swat as a good initiative and a  ray of hope voiceless women who are exposed to the domestic violence and many other issues related to gender discrimination.

The experts believe that taking such initiative in such area which was a centre of Talibanization and terrorists activities must be appreciated and encouraged on national and international level.

While talking to Voice of KP, Tabassum Adnan said that the negative attitude of the people towards women had pushed her to form a platform and raise voice for the voiceless and suppressed women of the area. Tabassum Adnan claimed that she had faced many hurdles and barriers including harassment, character assassination; many religious scholars around had issues Fatwa against her and was blamed for spreading immodesty among the ranks of women.

According to Tabassum Adnan, many were accusing her of spreading obscenity, but she had never asked a woman or girl about how to dress as her main goal was to raise voice for the helpless women and even men in the society.

It must be noted that Tabbassum Adnan for her struggle has won many international awards including Nelson Mandela Award, International Woman of Courage Award. She is also an honorary citizen of America and is the community member in Florida.

Talking about the number of cases resolved by the women Jirga of Swat, Tabasum said that since 2013 they had resolved above 1500 cases of both men and women.

These cases include honour killing, rape, abduction, inheritance and many other related to domestic violence, Child marriages, human smugglings etc.

It must be noted that in Swat was one of the districts of KP where Taliban once held absolute power and in 2012 shot then 15-year-old activist Malala Yousafzai in the head for being active on girls going to school.

It is worth mentioning here that the Jirga in KP has its own importance because most of the local disputes have been resolved through Jirga and this is the reason that despite the Supreme Court of Pakistan verdict of outlawing Jirga system it is still considered as the most important factor of the Pashtun society.

According to Tabassum Adnan, initially many people including some senior members of the men Jirga were making fun of her and her convened Jirga, but now she was permanently invited to men’s Grand Jirga of Swat to resolve the issues of women and men in the Jirga through consensus and mutual agreement.

About the funding she said that her organisation had no bank account and she had never asked anyone for money or financial assistance. Tabassum Adnan said that there were still some issues related to inheritance and honour killings but the ratio of Swara had prominently reduced in Swat district due to her continuous struggle and efforts.

 

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