Speedy and easy access to justice through reconcilation committees established at each police station in KPK Province of Pakistan
- Updating the indigenous system of jirga with the modern restorative justice system.
- Training of police and local community elders.
- Establishment of reconciliation committees for easy and on time access to justice outside of court and police involvement.
The community-based conflict transformation institution Jirga has existed since time immemorial in the Pukhtoon belt of Pakistan and Afghanistan. JPI conducted research on jirga, as all its procedure and practices were verbal,documented it in a book and circulated it the world over.
A 2003 international conference was arranged to introduce the Restorative Justice system. A little book on this, originally authored by Howard Zehr the grandfather of the system, was rewritten in the Pak-Afghan context and freely distributed at the 3-day conference for the first time in Pakistan.
HOW THE OBJECTIVES WERE ACHIEVED
Since jirga was used to resolve every type of conflict in the community, from minor to major - murder, tribal enmities - with sustainable reconciliation. But in the criminal justice system, due to a lack of reconciliation and a win or lose solution, in a society where revenge is the norm, in the majority of cases people took the law into their hands.
In 2008, JPI started training and establishing reconciliation committees to address petty cases reported to the police that later become major if not reconciled in time.The project was started in 2 districts, extended to 7, later to 12, when the funding was exhausted.
JPI continued its extension on a voluntary basis and now the committee is present in each police station (275) in 25 districts, resolving many cases on a daily basis.The result can be seen in the video and research: https://www.facebook.com/alibabno10/videos/vb.100000262411006/993657517319653/?type=2&theater
In the most violent area where militancy and talibinazation is at its peak, the project showed fruitful results on a daily basis through conflict resolution and reconciliation. The jirga system was updated with restorative justice, while the police and judiciary's pressure/ workload was eased.
Vulnerable groups, especially women, benefited and approached their elders sitting in the police station, without any fear.
Before, police stations were a place of hatred, harassment, nepotism, and corruption. With a quick and less corrupt justice system, opportunities for revenge were stopped.
Each police station resolved 20 to 50 cases on a daily basis, decisions were recorded and open to all, and monthly reports were prepared and forwarded to the high officials of police and judiciary.
The media spontaneously came forward to give a boost to the system through coverage.
Police and government brought minor changes to incorporate it into their efforts and the process got momentum.
In the annual police report of 2011-2012,13,000 and 14,000 cases were resolved that show the success of the project.
Funding is and was the biggest challenge that was addressed through the voluntary efforts of JPI and better liaison with the provincial police. Working for peace in areas where conflict can be seen in all corners, at a small and large scale, among family, tribes, regions and countries. The project got support from all as it was implemented within the legal, traditional and religious framework.
Local problems have local solutions. Upgrading of a local indigenous system that is widely prevalent proved to be a solution. However, people often look more to modern ways, having little attention to dig out, do research and update traditional ways. As people's faith grows, they take ownership and practice such systems.