DERA GHAZI KHAN: A nine-year-old girl’s fate was decided by a panchayat when it ordered her family to marry her off as vani to settle a kidnapping dispute in Dera Ghazi Khan on Monday.
A police official told The Express Tribune that a few days ago, accused Nadeem and Haji Muhammad abducted Razia Bibi and her three children Salma Bibi, 7, Iqra Bibi, 6, and one-year-old Sanwal.
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He added, “The police registered a case 184/17 against the accused on the complaint of Razia Bibi’s husband Buddha Khan.”
The police official maintained that in a bid to save their skin, the accused asked the panchayat to settle the dispute.
He pointed out, “When the matter was taken to the panchayat, it ordered the accused to hand over the children to their father Buddha Khan while Razia Bibi will go to her father’s house. The panchayat members also ordered that accused Nadeem and Haji Muhammad should marry their nine-year-old niece Bachal Mai to Buddha Khan’s 15-year-old nephew Abid.”
He said the members of the panchayat implemented their decision and forcibly conducted the Nikkah of Abid and Bachal Mai without the consent of the girl’s family. However, soon after the incident, the police raided the houses and arrested four suspects, including Nadeem and Haji Muhammad. The police also registered a case against more than a dozen people.
While speaking to The Express Tribune, Kot Mubarak Police Station SHO Muhammad Ashraf Qureshi said, “We took immediate action over the incident.” He added, “We will not spare those involved in banned practices no matter how influential they are.”
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The SHO elaborated that police teams were despatched to nab other culprits who had fled the area in fear of being caught. Meanwhile, the accused denied knowledge of the panchayat’s decision and said they had nothing to do with the decision.
Earlier in May 2017, a panchayat ordered a 12-year-old girl’s family to marry her off as vani to settle a dispute in Bhakkar.
Nadia Bibi, daughter of Muhammad Rustam, was kidnapped by Muhammad Idrees, son of Imam Bakhsh. When the matter was taken to the panchayat, it ordered that Idrees’s sister Samina Bibi should be married to Nadia’s brother Abid, 14. The members of the panchayat solemnised the Nikkah of Abid and Samina without the consent of the girl’s family.
Published in The Express Tribune, July 26th, 2017.