There is no law in Pakistan stopping the sale and purchase of women for the purpose of marriage, a Punjab government representative told the Lahore High Court on Thursday.
Assistant Advocate General Rabiyya Bajwa, appearing in connection with the case of a girl who was twice sold into marriage, said it was a tradition in some parts of the country for the girl’s family to demand money from the groom’s family, but there was no law against it.
Abdul Majeed, a resident of Narowal, had contracted marriage with S after paying her family in Charsada Rs100,000.
He later divorced her and sold her to Naziran Bibi for Rs125,000. Majeed later filed a writ petition in the LHC for the recovery of the girl, stating that Naziran wanted the girl married to her nephew Javed.
At an earlier hearing, the Narowal district police officer produced the girl in the court and said he had registered a case against Majeed and Naziran under Sections 371 A and 371 B of the Pakistan Penal Code, for the sale and purchase of a girl for the purpose of prostitution.
However, AAG Bajwa, assisting the court, said that these sections did not apply in the case as the DPO had already stated that Nazrian had purchased the girl for the purpose of marriage and not for prostitution.
She said that there were 16 public institutions working for the welfare of children and women, but none of them provided permanent protection and residence to women.
She said that only three institutions Darul Amaan, Kashana and Darul Islah provided shelter to women for up to one year.
She said that a 10-member advisory committee of the Darul Amaan arranged for the marriage of destitute girls after consulting with them.
The judge adjourned the hearing till March 26 and summoned the girl from the Darul Amaan.
Published in The Express Tribune, March 23rd, 2012.