Heterodoxy in Conflict Resolution “Vanni” in Pakistan
Developments in science and technology bring many changes by helping humans to elevate the standard of their lives. We see changes happen every day. This is not only limited to the advancement of technologies, better life, the higher standard of living but it is also affecting the thoughts of people. We see inventors are doing enormous research to make the new progression. We see social scientists are actively participating in societal issues and making it a peaceful place. Almost all countries are trying their best to serve the best. Hence there is a striking competition in every country. Since man is conquering the world. He is near to upright his flag on the peak but incongruously he lost his consciousness in the filthy traditions and systems. Thus, the transgression against humanity in this modern world is not admirable.
Here I want to throw light on an issue which needs serious attention we see different societies have their own problems and these societies always have ignorant people. I’m not sure that how can we quantify ignorant people. But we’ve come a long way in recognizing this aspect. But let’s not stop here we always learn and improve for tomorrow. Presently, the ignorant societies in Pakistan have created a complex situation in terms of mentality, perceptions and baseless systems as well as their beliefs. They follow different cultural traits to resolve conflicts like KaroKari (The killing of women in the name of honor), Sawara (It is a traditional practice in NWFP where girls are given for settling or resolving blood disputes between families and clans), Vanni (Forced marriages of girls to resolve conflicts and feuds generated through murders) molesting young girls and many others which are being practicing. Hence, people are progressing and moving towards an information revolution but there are some traditions like Vanni that is keenly practiced in different parts of Sindh and Punjab.
According to this tradition young girls are given in marriage to resolve a different kind of disputes. Vanni is basically a “Pushto” word and is also known as Sakh(It is a Sindhi term denoting administration of oath either in fire or on Holy Quran) and Swara.The significance of this practice is to resolve conflicts with forcible marriage as part of the punishment for a crime which is committed by girl’s male relatives.
However, in this cultural stratagem, Conflicts are resolved by forcible marriages but now it is becoming evil and is still practicing in various parts of the country. The practice should be apprehended and there should introduce some necessary methods to avoid the negative consequences instead of Vanni(Forced marriages of girls to resolve conflicts and feuds generated through murders) practice for dispute resolution.
Another fact is that there are different NGOs / development organizations that are working with the name of women rights and human rights. They have their vast networking throughout the world but what happened? Nothing has happened. Problems get stronger than ever. No relief neither healing nor any satisfaction for the victims. NGOs just identify the problems, raise the funds and left the wound without operating. Moreover, these horrible incidents are making distressing images when flashes in national and international media.
It is very heart-wrenching reality that in this 21st century there are still lots of societies in Pakistan, practice these heterodoxical traditions and treat women as a slave or a personal commodity by grasping their basic rights. There are numerous Vanni stories which didn’t get any attention and are being ignored. However, the primary aim should be to expose the root causes of this heinous crime. These sorts of traditions are prevailing within the society and affecting the innocent and voiceless girls.
REASONS OF HETERODOXY IN PAKISTAN
There are different cultural factors which are the reason of heterodoxy in Pakistan like patriarchal mores, misinterpretation of Islam, and cruel practices such as “Vanni” a critical cause of women exploitation but ultimately it facilitates in conflict resolution and the women pay the cost of that sin which they never did in actual sense although their only sin is that they have the relation with criminal and for that their whole life is exploited. Jean-Baptiste Piggin elucidates in an article “Girls as Sacrificial Lambs” that “Swara” blood price is still practiced in Pakistan.
Women and girls, even babies in their cradles, are given away in marriages as compensation for crimes committed by their menfolk
Moreover, Anthropologist Samar Minallah explained that Pakhtuns (the Ethnic group in Afghanistan and in Pakistan) are guided by “Pashtunwali” the unwritten laws which are engraved in their hearts and minds and Pakhtuns settle their achievements by taking revenge to maintain their honor and pride. She further explained that daughters and sisters are used to settling dispute this practice is followed just to impede further bloodshed. History reveals about this cruel, un-islamic and merciless practices that were started almost four hundred years ago when two Pathan tribes of Mianwali (A district of Punjab province in Pakistan) brawled a murderous conflict against each other. Many people were killed in this bloody period.
At that time ruler of “TANK” (A state of sub-content during Mughal King dome) struggled hard to resolve the conflicts between the two tribes but failed, and then he called “Jirga” (A local term used to define the group of people/elders who sit together for resolving a conflict). It is normally used in Balochistan, NWFP, FATA and also called “Informal Court” it determined that girls must be given as reimbursement. It is considered the only way to resolve conflicts. Therefore, they implemented the decision & both affected families turned into one family and later this decision became a tradition.
Hence, this practice is continued on the time when there is state of quarrel or hate between the two tribes, due to several reasons like kidnapping, unjust relations with each other, murder etc. So, the member of “Jirga” decided that the culpable person should give his sister, daughter, niece to another family to avoid further blood shedding. This girl can be an infant or the person who accepts her can be seventy or seventy-five years it does not matter. Despondently, this appalling custom is still practicing in many parts of Pakistan but mostly in Pathan (Muslim Community) tribes. The main essence of this custom is to resolve several disputes which are almost solved but the main victims are women either newborn babies or some young ones. A lot of work has been done on numerous aspects of these sorts of traditions, customs, it is the two-way process; it is illegal and un-Islamic tradition and is being ignored by Government and Judiciary. They must give attention to eradicate such crimes from the society and create awareness within the society in general about this immoral tradition.
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