A four-member inquiry team has been constituted to probe into the case of a 13-year-old girl being forced by a jirga to marry an old man to settle a family feud.
The committee was formed on Tuesday on the directives of Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa Inspector General of Police Muhammad Akbar Khan Hoti. Headed by Deputy Inspector General Investigation Sajid Ali Khan, the committee members met with the girl, Sadia,* her father, Gul Khan*, and her brother, Faheem*, at Mingora Police Station, where the three recorded their statements.
Sadia maintained her previous stance, saying she would prefer to commit suicide than to marry the man to atone her brother’s fault. She pleaded justice from the Supreme Court, human rights organisations and the president.
Meanwhile, her father said that the local jirga, comprising influential persons of the area, was pressurising him to give his daughter in marriage expiate for his son’s extra-marital affair. He added that during the jirga, which was held at the same police station last week, some of the police officials were partial towards the rival party and kept him, his daughter and his son in confinement.
The police, however, refused to disclose the statement of Faheem.
The four-member inquiry team consists of Deputy Superintendants of Police (DSP) Sajid Ali Khan, Sanuallah Khan, Sher Zada and Mian Nasib Jan.
“In order to find facts regarding the case, we will investigate each and every aspect in detail. Our team comprises adept police officers and we hope to have a conclusion soon,” DSP Sajid told local media persons.
Taking strict notice of the case, the local district administration sent a detailed report on the case to the interior ministry. Human rights activists throughout the country have appreciated the “firm and courageous” stand of Sadia for refusing to bow to the jirga’s order, and have promised to help her in the case whenever need be.
Swara is a custom in the Pashtun belt, under which girls are forcibly married to men of rival families to settle disputes.
*Names have been changed to protect identities
Published in The Express Tribune, September 12th, 2012.