The Asian Vision of Change
Below factual story was narrated by a (Late) respectable educated man Mr. Ghulam Hassan Khan of Marghuaz village swabi Pakistan during the research study on Jirga.He himself becomes agent of change by using his wisdom, knowledge and power during the process of Jirga that was taken place in tribal area. http://peace.fresno.edu/docs/Pukhtoon_Jirga.pdf
One day I passed by the village hujra, the tribal community center, where there was a big gathering. After my greeting, I asked what was going on. A man replied that an honor case was being settled by a jirga. A man and woman who had committed adultery were about to be executed.
A man raised a rifle when the girl interrupted and asked for her last will to be expressed. The jirga stopped her, as women are not allowed to speak once they have brought so much shame on the community. Being educated and knowledgeable of the law and rules, I addressed the jirga: “As a guest, I know I have no right to interfere in your decision. However, I intervene because the girl is right by all means: traditionally, religiously and according to law.”
After a lot of argument about my stand, the jirga allowed the girl to speak. I moved to her side and said, “Say what you want; I am with you.”
She requested that, before she speak, a ladder be brought so she could climb to the rooftop of the hujra. This was strange, but I asked that someone bring a ladder and put it against the building. The girl climbed up, and I followed her.
When she reached the top, she raised her full voice and said: “Oh, women, girls of this village, don’t cry out if some man wants to take your honor. My fault is that I cried out and called for someone to preserve my honor and safety. Today I will die along with the perpetrator because I cried out for help.”
She then asked me to come back down and told the jirga to kill her. It was so silent you could hear a pin drop.
I opened the discussion again and invited the jirga to look in depth at what the girl had said. The discussion resumed. In the end it was decided that in such a scenario as this, the woman should be left alone while only the man should be killed. That became the law for the rest of the area from then on.
The Story was re written for the general public people awareness, especially for women to get their due share in decision making process and include their voices. The women access to justice is monopolized by men in the men dominated society due culture reason ,their share on national level is 52% while women are much more in numbers in Afghanistan where the Jirga system is much strong than Pakistan. The story was well received by all circle including UN,INGO’s and local civil society organization .They started using the play in their capacity building. Strong feedback is received from all as the elders, police personal was observed crying by watching the play due to their role in Jirga system and followed the traditions in past have empathetic approach. The immediate change was observed within the training by many trainers and the visual approach using of technology was find a new approach to change the behavior of the people. The play was further updated with English captions for the wider awareness of people on global level to adopt such approaches in the traditional and religious setting.