Watta Satta: Parents clash with police over weddings

Arifa, 6, was being wed to Momin, 11, when police officials raided the wedding function.

Express July 10, 2011


A clash erupted over the watta satta marriage of two minors and two people broke a woman’s arm and nose on Saturday.

According to police officials, Moza Pati Pahodaan resident Irshad Ahmed’s daughter Arifa, 6, was being wed to Qadir Buksh’s son Momin, 11 in a watta satta ceremony on Saturday afternoon. In exchange, Qadir Bukhs’s daughter Irum Bibi, 16, was wed to Irshad’s son five years ago.

On Saturday, police officials raided the ceremony and a brawl broke out between the wedding guests and police when they tried to stop the ceremony. Several people were injured and Irshad Ahmed broke the nose and arm of his daughter-in-law after her father demanded that his daughter be married to his son, Momin.

“My daughter was given to them five year’s ago but when their turn came they told the police,” Qadir Bukhsh said, adding “I don’t care about any police issues. This is a personal matters and a daughter-in-law was promised for our house,” he said.

When Irshad asked for them family to delay the rukhsati Qadir Bukhsh refused to allow this. Bukhsh and his men fought with police officials and insisted that they would take Arifa by force if necessary. “We will come back for the girl if we have to. The police cant do anything,” Bukhsh’s son Naveed said.

Pahodaan Station House Officer (SHO) Rafeeq Murtaza said that police officials received an anonymous call about the wedding. “We were told that two minors were getting married and we raided the place. We didn’t realise we would need reinforcements because the men attacked us,” he said. Murtaza said that police eventually arrested both couple’s parents and questioned Arifa about the ceremony. “She is so young she doesn’t even know what is happening. She said she was playing while her mother dressed her up and made her sit on stage,” the SHO said.

Irshad Ahmed said that he had no objection to sending his daughter with Bukhsh but that he had asked to delay the ceremony.

“I wanted her to be a little older when I sent her but they insisted. I have no objection but I wanted to do it some other day because of the police,” he said. “They wouldn’t let the matter go and insulted my family,” he said. Irshad then mutilated Bukhsh’s daughter Irum Bibi.

Irum Bibi is currently in the DHQ hospital seeking treatment and doctors say that her face has been horribly disfigured. “She has lost the arm as we had to amputate,” said Dr Fawad.

Police officials have registered a case and have taken Qadir Bukhsh, Irshad Ahmed and other wedding guests in for questioning. Police officials have also arrested the nikah khwan Maulvi Abdul Saleem.

The names of the victims have been changed to protect their identities.

Published in The Express Tribune, July 11th, 2011.


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