Tribal laws: No arrests made so far in the Mahar jirga case

Conflicting accounts about the parallel jury’s verdict.

Sarfaraz Memon May 07, 2011


The Sukkur and Shikarpur police have failed to arrest the culprits involved in holding a jirga near Pano Aqil, despite the passage of 48 hours since the incident.

On Thursday night a jirga was held in village Mohammad Ibrahim Mahar, the kachcha village of Raza Goth police station near Pano Aqil chaired by local landlord Mohammad Ibrahim Mahar to reconcile a dispute between two groups of the Mahar clan, pertaining to the murder of four people from the Alan Mahar group by the Paryal Mahar group. The four murdered men were Ghous Bux, Huzoor Bux, Sobharo and Achar.

After hearing the arguments of both groups, the jirga had ordered Paryal Mahar group to give 12 girls in marriage to the men of Alan Mahar group to settle the dispute, equating one man as equal to three girls.

However, news about the jirga was leaked to the media after which the SHO Raza Goth police station on behalf of the state registered a case against 25 people including Mohammad Ibrahim Mahar, Paryal Mahar, Alan Mahar, Hasil Mahar, Malook Mahar and others. During late night raids in village Mohammad Ibrahim Mahar, the police managed to arrest Mir Mohammad Mahar, son of Mohammad Ibrahim Mahar.

In another development, Ali Hassan Mahar belonging to Paryal Mahar group called local journalists in Pano Aqil and told them that the jirga had imposed a fine of Rs2.20 million upon their group and that reports of forcible marriage of 12 minor girls are incorrect.

Conflicting stories continue to circulate. Sources insist that the verdict of the jirga was indeed the marriage of 12 minor girls as compensation and the people involved in the jirga are trying to save their skin as it has become a nationwide issue. On the other hand, the District Police Officer Sukkur has confirmed the statement of Ali Hassan Mahar and said that the jirga put forward two options before the Paryal Mahar group. The first was payment of Rs2.20 million and the second was to give 12 girls as compensation. However, he said that details are still unclear and that a reward would be given to the person who provides information leading to the arrest of the culprits or recovery of the girls.

The Regional Police Officer Sukkur Zulfiqar Shah talking to The Express Tribune said that he has taken notice of the jirga and cases have been registered against the people involved, with one arrest made so far.

It is not clear as yet what the actual verdict of the jirga was, adding that all details will be made public once the accused suspects are arrested. He said that the first priority for the police is to arrest the parents of the girls so that the correct version could be ascertained.

Four years ago, two groups of Mahar clan, namely the Alan Mahar and Paryal Mahar groups, clashed over theft of cattle heads in the kachcha area of Lakhi Ghulam Shah taluka. Four people from Alan Mahar group were killed in the dispute. Since that time there had been palpable tension between the two groups, and to bring this enmity to an end, a jirga was held in village Mohammad Ibrahim Mahar.

Published in The Express Tribune, May 8th, 2011.


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