Police on Firday arrested two men who declared a small girl vani to settle a dispute between two families in a remote village near Mansehra. This brings the total number of people arrested in the case to seven, as five suspects had been held by the Baffa police on Thursday.
The victim’s cousin, Riasat, and a girl from their rival family got married of their own accord. When the two families found out,
they convened a jirga to settle the dispute at the house of an elder of the village. In the jirga, the two families decided that the 10-year-old Nazia* will be wedded to Zafar*, brother of the girl who had married.
However, with the timely intervention of human rights activists and media, the girl was not sent to the groom’s house. “The girl is safe with her parents,” Baffa Police SHO Sardar Ajmal Khan told The Express Tribune.
Police had booked seven men in the case: Muhammad Ali (head of the jirga), Abdul Rehman (father of the girl), Abdul Qayum, Moulvi Daud, Abdul Ghani, Mian Gul and Afzal. All seven have now been arrested.
The police said that the families had not carried out the nikkah ceremony yet as the boy, Zafar, himself is a minor. Instead, the two were engaged to each other.
This is the second case of vani in the district in the past two months. Earlier, a girl was given as vani in Lassan Nawab when her brother kidnapped a girl and married her with the help of the local SHO and some notables of the area. The vani was later proved in an inquiry and the Lassan Nawab SHO and 14 others were booked.
*Names have been changed to protect identities
Published In The Express Tribune, June 16th, 2012.
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