Panchayat members booked for ordering marriage of children under 'vani'

Published: May 7, 2017
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A 12-year-old girl was married off to a 14-year-old boy on a panchayat's orders. PHOTO: AFP/File

A 12-year-old girl was married off to a 14-year-old boy on a panchayat's orders. PHOTO: AFP/File

MULTAN: A dozen people were booked in Bhakkar on Sunday for ordering the marriage of a 12-year-old girl to a 14-year-old boy under vani – an outlawed custom for settling disputes.

According to the Darya Khan police, a panchayat (village court) in Basti Mehar Imam had ordered the marriage of the underage children as ‘a punishment’ for a crime that the girl’s brother had allegedly committed.

The police added that a few months ago, the daughter of one Muhammad Rustam was kidnapped. Her family accused another villager, Muhammad Idrees, of the abduction.

11-year-old given as vani for brother’s crime

Later, a panchayat ordered that Idrees’ 12-year-old sister be married off to Rustam’s 14-year-old son. The children’s nikah took place on Saturday, despite protests by the girl’s father.

The father then went to the Darya Khan police, who registered a case under Section 310 of the Pakistan Penal Code that prohibits giving a woman in marriage as vani or any other similar custom.

Twelve people, including Rustam, Ghulam Akbar, Ghulam Qasim, Haq Nawaz, Muhammad Zameer and a cleric Mufti Muhammad Azeem who performed the nikah, are named in the FIR and police teams have been dispatched to arrest them.

The girl’s father has demanded that as his daughter was forcibly married, she should be able to obtain a divorce.

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