A young girl who married against the will of her parents spent a fortnight in solitary confinement before she managed to escape.
The Darband police in Mansehra district said Saba Gul, 18, daughter of a van driver from Darband village, married Rizwan, a welder, in a court of Sialkot district on April 7 this year. The couple settled in Sihala.
Since her parents were not happy with the decision, they arranged a jirga on July 16, calling elders from Darband and the former UC 110 Sialkot union nazim, Choudhry Aslam Rana. The jirga agreed that Saba will be returned unharmed to her husband with a formal rukhsati, which would take place in a week in Rawalpinidi, where the family is settled.
However, according to the police, her parents took her to Darband in violation of the jirga’s decision and left her with Khan Bahadur, her maternal uncle. Khan, according to Saba, tied her up, locked her in a room and beat her badly.
She was confined for two weeks before she somehow got access to a small knife fitted with a nail cutter, police said. She used it to cut the rope during the night.
The next morning, on August 13, when someone from her uncle’s family opened the door for breakfast, she fled the house and reached the Darband police station. Saba recorded her statement confirming that she married Rizwan of her own will. She also accused her uncle of restraining her and subjecting her to violence. The police registered a case against Khan Bahadur and arrested him.
A magistrate sent her to Abbottabad Darul Aman (shelter).
Rizwan, her husband, confirmed the ordeal that his wife underwent and how her parents took her from Sialkot.
He added Saba’s family was constantly threatening them of dire consequences. He said the family says their court marriage has humiliated them and brought a bad name for the entire family. He said he was not afraid of the consequences and would “fight for his wife till the last breath”.
Saba was not immediately accessible for her comments because the Darul Aman in-charge Aman Surraya’s phone was off. Her family too were not immediately available for a comment.
Published in The Express Tribune, August 17th, 2011.
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