Death toll rises to 5 in Pakistan court shooting

Mediation effort at tribal court spectacular failure as one group resorts to shootings

Death toll rises to 5 in Pakistan court shooting

World Bulletin/News Desk

A mediation effort in Pakistan failed spectacularly Sunday as five people were killed and several were injured when a defendant, apparently unsatisfied with the judgment of a private tribal court, opened fire during proceedings in southeastern Jaccobabad district, according to officials and witnesses.

The injured included the court's chief judge, Sardar Noor Mohammad Jhakrani  who is also the head of country's powerful Jhakrani tribe.

The tribal court, known as a "jirga", was being held in the outskirts of Jaccobabad, a border town between southern Sindh and southeastern Baluchistan provinces, to resolve a dispute between two groups of the Jhakrani tribe, police said.

"The jirga was called to resolve an old land dispute between the two groups of Jhakrani tribe that has claimed about a dozen lives in last three years", Mukaish Rupeta, a witness, told The Andolu Agency. "After hearing the arguments from both sides, the chief judge passed order in favor of one group."

Members of the other group rose and started shouting as soon as the chief judge rendered his judgment.

"It was pandemonium as members of both groups were shouting and abusing each other", Rupeta said.

All of a sudden, he said, a tribesman belonging to the group that had lost the case drew his gun and fired indiscrimately at people in the room.

One person was killed on the spot, and others were injured and rushed to the hospital. The final death toll was reported to be five.

The chief judge, wearing the traditional white turban, a symbol of superiority in tribal society, was hit and taken to the hospital, where doctors were trying to save his life.

"The firing caused a stampede in the court as everybody rushed to the exit doors in panic", Rupeta said. "Various people fell to the ground and were run over by the panicked crowd."

Private tribal courts, or jirgas, are common in Pakistan, especially in  rural areas where people avoid taking criminal and civil cases to the courts because of the cumbersome, and costly judicial process.

The Supreme Court of Pakistan has declared these jirgas unconstitutional, But in many cases, government ministers and functionaries lead the jirgas.

Last Mod: 09 Mart 2014, 14:14
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