The dark side of ‘Watta-Satta’ marriages

Man charged for murdering sister.

Umer Nangiana February 23, 2011

ISLAMABAD: Haseena Bibi, a 22-year- old from Peshawar, was shot dead by her brother over domestic conflicts on Monday night at Bilal Town.

She was visiting her maternal grandparents’ house in Chak Shehzad with her mother, Zarqa Bibi, when the incident occurred.

Haseena’s brother, Sher Ali, came to see them and began quarelling over their recent divorces.

The siblings had been married in the traditional watta-satta (exchange marriages) system some two years ago in their native land, Peshawar, Zarqa told the police. Problems in Haseena’s marriage had driven her husband to divorce her, spelling the same predicament for her brother as instituted by the system.

“According to the agreement of their marriage and Pakhtun custom, Ali was also forced to divorce his wife in retaliation,” said a
police official.

However, Ali was not happy with the outcome of his marriage. He held his sister responsible for the differences between the two families after which he reluctantly had to divorce his wife.

He shot his sister, who received three bullets in her abdominal area and died on the spot. Sher managed to escape the murder scene.

Zarqa filed a complaint with the Shehzad town police that her son had shot her daughter following a hot exchange of words.

She told the police that Ali had developed a bone of contention with Haseena ever since the two divorces. On Monday night, the same issue had triggered a brawl among the family.

Police suspected Ali had escaped to Peshawar after committing the murder. There were also suspicions that he had come with the intention to kill her sister.

“There are chances he had killed the girl in connivance with some of his family members,” said a police official.

A case was registered against him in the Shehzad Town police. Police have been trying to reach his native town to arrest him.

Published in The Express Tribune, February 23rd, 2011.

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