A petition was filed in a Sahiwal district and sessions court on Thursday seeking registration of a case against panchayat men accused of marrying a five-year-old girl to a six-year-old boy.
Petitioner Muhammad Aslam, a resident of Qasimwala village in Sahiwal, stated that Shahkot police (in Chichawatni) had turned down his several applications against Haji Mumtaz, his brother Haq Nawaz, nikahkhwan Muhammad Afzal and others who led the panchayat. He said Shahkot police had beaten him up and threatened against reappearing with the application.
In his application, Aslam accused Mumtaz and Nawaz of abducting him and his five-year-old daughter from their home in Qasimwala two weeks ago.
He said the suspects had raided his home to find Aslam’s brother Muhammad Iqbal who had eloped with Mumtaz’s daughter Razia. “They ransacked the house for Iqbal and Razia and took me and my daughter on failure to find them. I told them I had not seen Iqbal for over a month and had no idea about his marriage,” he said.
Aslam said a panchayat was arranged by Mumtaz at his home in Chak 92/15-L, Mian Channu, a day after the kidnapping.
“The panchayat declared my daughter vani and married her to Razia’s six-year-old brother,” he said.
Aslam said he and his daughter were released after he signed a document stating that he would pay Mumtaz Rs1 million if he refused to send his daughter with ‘her groom’. “I was forced to sign the document. They said they’ll kill me and my daughter if he resist,” he said.
Shahkot police station house officer Nisar Bhatti said he had not received any application from anyone named Aslam for registration of a child marriage case.
Aslam said his brother Muhammad Iqbal had been missing from the house for over a month.
Published in The Express Tribune, May 4th, 2012.