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Restorative justice, policing and insurgency: Learning from Pakistan.

Braithwaite, John
June 4, 2015

Source: (2014) Law & Society Review. 48(3):531-561.

Pakistan state law and Taliban rule of Sharia law are at different ends of a
politico-legal spectrum. They share advocacy of one system of law and attraction
to eradication of alternatives. Muslahathi Committees in Pakistan are used
to explore legal pluralism, hybrid institutions that allow deliberative democracy
to seek workable responses to injustice. Formal and traditional systems
can show mutual respect and check each other. On the basis of purely qualitative
evidence, it is argued that Muslahathi Committees are restorative justice
programs that sustainably reduce revenge violence, make a contribution to
preventing Pakistan from spiraling into civil war, and assist a police force with
low legitimacy to become somewhat more accountable to local civil society.
These contributions are limited, but could be more significant with modest
investment in human rights and gender awareness training to control abuses
and increase accountability. The ruthless, murderous, divisive politics of policing
and restorative justice in Pakistan seems a least likely case for deliberative
democracy to work. In limited ways it does. (authors’ abstract)


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