Pukhtun Culture and Traditions


Jirga is typical of the Pukhtun society. It is the most interesting institution of pakhtuns. It works as a council or assembly.
Jirga is an assembly of elders and forceful leaders, chiefs and religious leaders of the society, who try their best for the settlement of any case that put in front of them by the members of community.
Usually jirga decide in the light of approved customs (riwaj) and try to maintain the dignity of the parties involved.
Once a person proved to be guilty, the punishment ranges from simple warning to complete social boycott. The guilty person may demand for apology and agree for compensation to the other party and fine to the jirga. The decision of the jirga is often very well regarded.

Kushal khan khattak says the importance of jirga in these verses.

Bandobust da kianat shi pa khabaro….
Uo tar salo sadaka sha sal tarzaro…….
Translation: (The Universe can be managed on negotiations. One is preferable over hundreds and hundreds over thousands.)

Noorani de agha zaye chi sara keeni….
Deerana salor yaran la maslahat…….
(The place, where four friends (member of the jirga) meet to settle dispute as higly lucky and liable to be kissed.)

Size of the jirga:

There is no limit for the member’s participation. Every one can participate in jirga, who has the knowledge about the pakhtuns norms and values and the power and skill to face the situation and then to decide any matter gracefully. There is no fix duration under which jirga have to decide any case. Any case can be solved with in 1 day or with in 15 days.

Jirga membership:

This membership procedure is different from place to place and for time to time. In some tribes every adult male can attend jirga. However in some communities there are prescribed rules for the membership. But there is no voting system. There is no restriction on age, academic qualification or knowledge of law. The only things that counts for the membership of jirga is experience, wisdom, skill of convincing others through conversation. A person must be well acquainted with the public, social status, a respectful and respectable one among the masses.
He must belong to the same society and religion.


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