Source: (-0001) HEINRICH BOLL FOUNDATION.

As Leo Tolstoy very rightly said, “the seeds of every crime are in each of us.” Crime is not an out-side phenomenon. It lives with each individual’s inner self, and depending on the opportunities available, it can come out. “Power corrupts” and “the needy are not respectable”. These are some of the notions used by, both the weaker and the stronger to legitimize their actions. It changes its form from place to place and individual to individual. Shame, honour, customary practices, ego, what others will think or say, are the basic elements that lead to crime in a society. Such elements generate crime, in each individual, with different excuses. In some cases, the victimization of the offender is dominated by his commitment of crime to others, while weak law provides ample opportunities, to the strong, to take the matter in his own hands and quench thirst. Strong law prevents the criminal from committing a crime on the one hand, while social bondage prevents the individual from committing the crime, even in countries where law is weak. Divine law is the most important and above all, if it is taken in its real sense, to prevent community members from committing the crimes. If divine law is not practiced, then the two laws come to challenge each other’s existence. The criminal justice system and the traditional system of different communities are practiced in different part of the world. Such traditional systems are organized in the WEST, under the umbrella of restorative justice systems. Called circle in the WEST, Sulah in the Middle East, gachacha in Africa, and Morie tribe traditional practice in New Zealand. Jirga and Punchayat of Pakistan is the same system, with marginal differences. Jirga and Punchayat systems are common to all the four provinces of the country. Jirga is commonly practiced in NWFP and Balochistan, while Punchayat relates to the Punjab and Sindh provinces. Jirga replaces the name of Punchayat now and sweeps across the entire country, even though there are quite some differences between the two. Punchayat is headed by a ‘sir punch’, that is, a notable of an area who imposes his decision on others, while Jirga’s decision is unanimous. There is a difference of opinion within the Jirga process, but the final verdict is acceptable to all, inspite of the reservation of some members. There are many, who are of the opinion, that the system of Jirga is better than the modern time democracy: in a Jirga, a decision taken is acceptable to all, while in the democratic setup, opposition can play its role within and outside of the house, and can take a position on the opinion held, right to the end. (excerpt)