A peasant has denied allegations of honouring a jirga decision to give 12 girls in exchange to settle a murder dispute and has claimed that he instead paid Rs1.7 million in blood money.
The jirga made national headlines on May 5 when a jirga ordered the Paryal Mahar group to hand over the girls to the Alan Mahar group to appease four murders that happened four years ago.
Late Saturday night, Paryal Mahar appeared before Shikarpur DPO Junaid Shaikh, along with his wife and four daughters, and they recorded their statements.
According to DPO Junaid Shaikh, Paryal and his family informed the police that the jirga was held but that, contrary to reports, the decision to give the girls in compensation was false. The jirga decided fined them Rs2.2 million to be paid to the Alan Mahars.
After the statements were recorded, Paryal Mahar and his family were then sent to Sukkur where they met DPO Aitizaz Goraya who shifted the family to an undisclosed location.
The Shikarpur DPO said that because the jirga was held in Sukkur district, it fell under that jurisdiction which is why he sent the family to meet the Sukkur DPO.
Sukkur DPO Aitzaz Goraya corroborated Junaid Shaikh’s story. He confirmed that Paryal had told him that the jirga was held to resolve the matter of four murders and a fine of Rs2.2 million was imposed on them. Out of this sum, Rs1.7 million had already been paid and the remaining amount would be paid next month.
Goraya said that Paryal Mahar and his family were presented before the media so that there would be no ambiguity and they would be taken to a court of law on Monday morning. However, only the representatives of a few electronic media channels were invited to meet with Paryal Mahar while officials of the print media were ignored.
As the case has now reached the national level, the people present at the jirga have gone into hiding.
Reliable sources have said that Paryal Mahar is a resident of the kachcha area of Lakhi Ghulam Shah taluka and is a landless peasant, working on the fields of a landlord.
These sources say that Paryal is a poor peasant and it is doubtful that he has ever seen even Rs100,000 in his life, let alone the Rs1.7 million which he is claimed to have been paid.
Reports from Pannu Aqil also claim that Alan Mahar, the leader of the rival group, called journalists and denied that the jirga even took place, further adding to the confusion.
Published in The Express Tribune, May 9th, 2011.
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