The jirga: justice and conflict transformation

This report looks at the Jirga , a traditional gathering of elders that resolves grievances by consensus, and the role it can play in conflict transformation and resolution in the Provincially Administered Tribal Areas (PATA) of Khyber Pakhtunkhwa, one of the most conflict-affected areas in Pakistan.

The report, by Saferworld and Community Appraisal and Motivation Programme (CAMP), presents local perspectives on the Jirga system, the challenges it brings and areas for improvement. The research findings are drawn from consultations with local communities in Swat and Lower Dir districts as well as a range of Pakistani and international actors who have experience of the Jirga system.

The report found that as a conflict transformation and resolution tool, the Jirga could help prevent militant groups from advocating alternative forms of justice, which in the past has led to violence. The report also identified that the system could be improved by including marginalised and vulnerable groups in a manner and timeframe that is acceptable to local people. It concludes that a more representative and inclusive Jirga system would improve access to justice for all members of society and reduce local tensions and conflicts in PATA. Furthermore it recommends that Pakistan should strengthen the links between formal and informal mechanisms for justice and clarify the status and potential of Jirga to complement the judicial system.

This research is part of the EU-funded ‘People’s Peacemaking Perspectives’ project, a joint initiative implemented by Conciliation Resources and Saferworld and financed under the European Commission's Instrument for Stability. The project provides European Union institutions with analysis and recommendations based on the opinions and experiences of local people in a range of countries and regions affected by fragility and violent conflict.

Find out more about the People's Peacemaking Perspectives project

Read the policy brief

Read the full report


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