Islamabad: While hearing a petition to declare 'Jirga' or tribal system illegal, the Supreme Court observed that Pakistanis appeared to be "living in the Stone age".

Jirga is a tribal assembly of elders which takes decisions by consensus, particularly among the Pashtun people. Chief Justice Iftikhar Muhammad Chaudhry, heading a three-member bench, made the comment Tuesday while hearing a petition by the National Commission on the Status of Women, as reported on Wednesday.

The petitioner told the court that 87 cases of Jirgas and 26 cases of Vani, a Pakistani tradition where young women are traded between families in resolution of a dispute, were reported in Sindh in one year. The bench was requested to give a "strong decision".

The Chief Justice said the provincial and federal governments had become weak, lawlessness was on the rise, and "it seems that we are living in the Stone age". The court ordered officials to take action against those who held Jirgas. The court will hear the case April 12.