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July 12, 2013

Swat Valley women take justice into their own hands

Will praise online for Pakistan's all-female tribal jirga match support on the ground?

Jan Bano, a mother who sought justice for her daughter from the female jirga, speaks during an interview with AFP on the outskirts of the northwestern Swat valley, Pakistan, on June 20, 2013. AFP / A. MAJEED

Women in Pakistan's Swat Valley have formed a council to provide a new forum for women who say their cases are not being heard by men. 
Justice in northwest Pakistan is often served through jirgas, groups of male tribal elders. The elders act as an alternative to courts that are frequently criticised for delays and corruption.
The head of "Khwaindo Tolana" (Sister's Group) told the AFP news agency, "We're fed up with male-only jirgas which decide only in favour of men and sacrifice women for their own mistakes". She says with the new council's help, 11 women have already found justice.
Though the men's jirga has reportedly shown little support for the initiative, commenters online were full of praise: