SHABQADAR: Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa Police on Monday arrested a gang involved in selling helpless women into marriage with older men and then forcing them to steal valuables from their in-laws.
Initial investigation revealed that the women were first forced to marry men in various parts of Punjab and then blackmailed to rob their in-laws and runaway back to the gang members.
Shabqadar DSP Muhammad Riaz produced the accused persons, including four men and three women before to the media.
Ghazi Khan, who is a Peshawar resident, tied the knot with Aisha, after paying Rs244,000 to gang members identified as Hakeem Khan and Bilal Khan.
The police official shared that after spending a few days with her husband, she ran away in the middle of the night. Ghazi registered a complaint with the police for his wife ‘going missing’, however, she did not return.
Similarly, Jehad Khan, a resident of Katazai, had registered a complaint with police that his daughter Shama had gone missing from her husband’s house.
Jehad had suspected that she was sold by her in-laws in Punjab.
Battagram police raided a house in Gunda area where they found his daughter, who had been abducted by Bilal and Hakeem, the DSP informed.
During the interrogation, it was revealed that the gang would sell off the women mostly to older and more vulnerable men.
Bilal confessed that after tying the knot, they would steal valuables from their husband’s home and flee.
Ghazi told authorities that he has a cloth business and has sold several women who later came back to him.
Outlandish tradition, desperation
Demanding money for bride from the groom’s family is unfortunately still a tradition in some parts of the country and there are no laws against it.
Shama Bibi, one of the woman who was sold, said that she was sold by her husband out of desperation owing to their dire economic woes.
She has two daughters and was married to Arif Shah a few years ago, but the couple began fighting as they were living hand to mouth.
Shama said that she was first forced to smuggle drugs to Rawalpindi to earn money fort the family, but later her father-in-law not only sold her to the gang but also one of her daughters.
The victim said that she was first taken to Mardan and then sold to a man identified as Mazhar who lives in Rawalpindi.
After spending 10 days with her new family, Bilal told her to come back to him.
On her return, police raided the gang’s hideout with seven members having been arrested thus far.