FAISALABAD: Police have arrested four people after a 14-year-old girl was allegedly married off on the order of a ‘panchayat’ in Chichawatni, Sahiwal.
The girl was married against her will to settle a dispute relating to a rape which was believed to have been committed by her brother.
Saddar police sub-inspector Noor Muhammad told The Express Tribune that a resident of the district, Munir Ahmed, accused another person in the neighbourhood, Rafique Abbas, of assaulting his wife two weeks ago.
Ahmed, he added, asked the panchayat to summon Abbas’s family and marry his sister with him. The family was subsequently forced out of their house and the girl was forced to marry Ahmed.
The officer that samples of DNA have been sent to Punjab Forensic Lab for analysis to investigate the allegations.
Later, the girl’s brother Khizer Abbas complained to the police that his brother had wrongly been accused of the assault. According to him, his family members including his elderly father were wrongly implicated in the case.
Police raided the village and arrested four persons, Munir Ahmad, Haq Nawaz, Muhammad Tariq, and panchayat member Sher Muhammad. The accused were booked under various provisions of the Pakistan Penal Code (PPC) and sent to jail on judicial remand.
Khizer said the people levelling the accusation belonged to an influential family and had made up the whole story to forcibly marry his little sister.
This was yet another incident of ‘vani’ despite Punjab government’s claims of taking a number of measures and promulgating various laws to shun honour killing and protecting them from cruel traditions.
At least three similar cases have been reported in the province in the last few weeks. On July 26, a 10-year-old girl was married off to a 17-year-old boy to avenge the marriage of a couple in Darkhan locality of Karore Tehsil, Layyah.