Child marriage: Eleven-year-old girl bartered off to satiate father’s lust

Published: September 30, 2011

Decked in her finest clothes, 11-year-old Nadia sat waiting for a judgement. PHOTO: EXPRESS

SUKKUR: In a woman’s complaint cell, barefooted, but decked up like a bride, 11-year-old Nadia told The Express Tribune of how her father had bartered her off in ‘marriage’ to a boy almost twice her age.

Late on Wednesday, a woman came to the New Pind police station claiming that her husband had forced her daughter into marrying a 20-year-old boy.

She directed the police to a house in Islam Colony, from where they arrested her husband, Mohammad Yasin Shaikh, her new son-in-law, Shakeel Shaikh, and his brother Ghulam Shabbir Shaikh along with Maulvi Noor Ahmed Chachar. Nadia and her mother, Ghulam Zuhra, were sent to a women’s complaint cell.

On Thursday, Nadia and the four men came before the second civil judge and judicial magistrate, Sukkur, Rajab Ali Shar, who, after recording their statements, promptly sent all four of them to jail for a14-day judicial remand.

In her statement, Nadia told the court that her father had forced her into marrying Shakeel and opted to leave with her maternal uncle, Lal Mohammad Shaikh.

Earlier at the women’s complaint cell, Nadia vehemently spoke about how her father is a greedy man and must have done the whole thing for money. The previous morning, her father beat her mother out of the house. “That afternoon, Shakeel and the maulvi arrived and my nikkah was solemnised,” she said. “After the nikkah, Shakeel took me to his house, from where the police found me.”

According to Ghulam Zuhra, her husband had married another woman six months ago and, in exchange, promised to give up their daughter Nadia. When Zuhra tried to stand up to him, he beat her. “I went to my brother’s house and, taking advantage of my absence, he married Nadia off,” she told The Express Tribune, “but a neighbour told me about this and I immediately informed the police.”

The complaint centre head, Safia Baloch, explained that the whole episode was a result of a lack of awareness. The cell’s SHO, Zuhra Shah, said that girls involved in child marriages and karo-kari disputes are kept at the cell before they are taken to court.

The cell has only one male police constable and very few staffers – eight female constables who work around the clock in shifts with very few facilities. The building was initially supposed to be a women’s police station but was turned into a complaint cell.

Published in The Express Tribune, September 30th,  2011.

Reader Comments (16)

  • John B
    Sep 30, 2011 - 10:16AM

    All tv stations should spare 30 min broken in 30 second commercials for national public education and awareness campaign.

    The prompt action of all made this a good story. How many slipped through?

    Heard in BBC a while ago that in Peshawar a father was trying to sell his two children ( out of poverty,according to the story) in open market space but there were no buyers and he took his children back home. Disturbed me for a long time.

    Education and awareness is the key. It is a social responsibility. Not the Govt.

    Recommend

  • Amjad
    Sep 30, 2011 - 11:10AM

    Sad; This type of injustice is common among Arabs but is not part of Pakistani culture. I read the book Nejad about the abuse of a young pre pubertal Arab girl forced to marry an old man and it made me sick. Child marriages are also common in India. Such practices which are imported from Arabia or India must be stopped.

    Recommend

  • Irshad Khan
    Sep 30, 2011 - 11:32AM

    Beside creating awareness, very strict laws are also needed to control this culture prevailing in most parts of the country. This is done for money and also for Watta Satta, ie marriage in exchange.

    Recommend

  • Rehan
    Sep 30, 2011 - 4:57PM

    @Amjad: stop deluding yourself, this is part of Pakistani culture. ‘Imported from India’ that’s a good one. How dare ‘they’ spoil our innocent ‘Pak’ culture! Remember which country we were part of before 1947? Our culture didn’t just change overnight.

    Recommend

  • vasan
    Sep 30, 2011 - 5:01PM

    Amjad : What an insane argument. Child marriages were never imported from India into Pakistan. It was part of Pakistani culture as Pakistan itself was part of India. Dont try to blame others for all evils.Recommend

  • Mj
    Sep 30, 2011 - 5:18PM

    The girl could’ve been 6 and her marriage would still have been ‘halal’, would’nt it be? Child marriages repulse us for a reason and no amount religiously sanctified edicts will justify this gross violation of a child’s rights. Pakistan needs to strictly enforce the age of consent of 16 and above and jail any groom who weds a child, and the mullah who performs the nikah.

    Recommend

  • Balma
    Sep 30, 2011 - 8:03PM

    Minimum marrriage age for women in Pakistan should be 25, guys 30.
    this is the only solution to problems like the article mentions and will also take care of the population explosion. The only other option is zero (yes, 0) child policy.
    Enough is enough. We don’t want hundreds of millions of uneducated and clueless people in Pakistan.

    Recommend

  • Asad
    Sep 30, 2011 - 8:24PM

    @Amjad
    Beware you are blaspheming. Our PBUH married Ayesha when she was 6 years. How dare you say that this type of injustice is common among Arabs. Muhammad (PBUH) was an arab and he personally shown us this path. Think of judgement day before uttering such blasphemy.

    Recommend

  • Ikramuddin Akbar
    Sep 30, 2011 - 9:53PM

    @Rehan:
    Very true ! when we fail to justify something shameful that takes place in our country that bow the nations head down with guilt and shame we shamefully attribute it to others.what ever is happening in other Islamic countries has nothing to do with the crimes taking place in Pakistan.What the human right activists have done so far in this country curbing and eliminating cruel customs from this land of vulnerable! Instead of tackling these issues most are concentrating on Karachi’s political issues.

    Recommend

  • Leila Rage
    Oct 1, 2011 - 2:58AM

    @Asad:

    Its not blasphemy since Amjad never insulted God or the Holy Prophet (PBUH) or Islam in his comment. He only talked of Arab culture.

    Also, the marriage was solemnised then, but Hazrat Bibi Ayesha did not leave her parents home to live with the Prophet (PBUH) until she had reached puberty. Furthermore, that was a long time ago, the world has changed since then. Also, you are talking about the Prophet (PBUH) who was an exemplary human being and the most noble of all humans. The men in Pakistan today are nothing like him, so there is a VAST difference in the two cases.

    Recommend

  • RizwanTKhan
    Oct 1, 2011 - 10:50AM

    Astagfirullah!

    Recommend

  • Indi
    Oct 1, 2011 - 11:17AM

    @ Leila Rage @ Asad
    Your arguments don’t hold any water (see the number of recommeded Asad)-
    1) “He (Amjad) only talked about Arab Cutlure” – No, he also talked about India link. I agree with you that it is an Arab culture and imported to India with Islam. So Amjad and his likes shall not bring India in every second sentence to feel good.

    2) “Furthermore, that was a long time ago, the world has changed since then.” – No, ask any hardcore islamist and he/she will say that Islam is inviolable, unchangeable and we should strive to match the period 1400 years ago. Pakistan is doing everything to reach the time of your Prophet.

    In short, you cannot pick and choose. If you want to take credit that the world has changed, then Islam has to change according to the present day Non-Shariya compliant world.

    Recommend

  • Oct 2, 2011 - 7:21AM

    I wish the government would take time to first educate the moulvis and then the people about how wrong this is.

    Recommend

  • Joe Al-Kafir
    Oct 2, 2011 - 9:45PM

    Way to stay classy, Pakistan!

    Recommend

  • Cycloneous
    Oct 2, 2011 - 11:03PM

    @Amjad & @Asad

    NO ONE has a right to marry off a little girl to a man twice her age. It defies all common sense.

    The problem here is not just culture, but religion. People are using religion to justify an Arab cultural practice, that the modern world looks down upon and with good reason. If you justify this because of religion and say that I am blaspheming against your “prophet” and religion that I submit to you that you have a great error in your judgement because of your lack of moral values and respect for human beings.

    Stop saying that because some one has an opinion on islam or islamic practice and you disagree with that person that it is blasphemy!!! If you are offended by what some one says against your religion then you are insecure in your religion and are threatened by that opinion. A differing opinion on our part, does not excuse your insecurity on your part. Recommend

  • Lysel
    Oct 3, 2011 - 2:45PM

    @Amjad: who wrote: “Sad; This type of injustice is common among Arabs but is not part of Pakistani culture.”

    Horsepucky! This is Arab/Islamic culture & a VERY common practice in all muslim-majority countries – including & especially in Pakistan! If this bothers you & you are ashamed of it — rather than bringing India & other countries into the mix, ADMIT it and DO SOMETHING ABOUT IT!

    Sweeping it under the rug, or defending mohammed, who himself “married” a six year old CHILD — have the COURAGE to address & end this barbaric practice! To change “hearts & minds”, one first has to admit the problem!

    Recommend

More in Pakistan