SUKKUR: In a woman’s complaint cell, barefooted, but decked up like a bride, 11-year-old Nadia told The Express Tribune of how her father had bartered her off in ‘marriage’ to a boy almost twice her age.
Late on Wednesday, a woman came to the New Pind police station claiming that her husband had forced her daughter into marrying a 20-year-old boy.
She directed the police to a house in Islam Colony, from where they arrested her husband, Mohammad Yasin Shaikh, her new son-in-law, Shakeel Shaikh, and his brother Ghulam Shabbir Shaikh along with Maulvi Noor Ahmed Chachar. Nadia and her mother, Ghulam Zuhra, were sent to a women’s complaint cell.
On Thursday, Nadia and the four men came before the second civil judge and judicial magistrate, Sukkur, Rajab Ali Shar, who, after recording their statements, promptly sent all four of them to jail for a14-day judicial remand.
In her statement, Nadia told the court that her father had forced her into marrying Shakeel and opted to leave with her maternal uncle, Lal Mohammad Shaikh.
Earlier at the women’s complaint cell, Nadia vehemently spoke about how her father is a greedy man and must have done the whole thing for money. The previous morning, her father beat her mother out of the house. “That afternoon, Shakeel and the maulvi arrived and my nikkah was solemnised,” she said. “After the nikkah, Shakeel took me to his house, from where the police found me.”
According to Ghulam Zuhra, her husband had married another woman six months ago and, in exchange, promised to give up their daughter Nadia. When Zuhra tried to stand up to him, he beat her. “I went to my brother’s house and, taking advantage of my absence, he married Nadia off,” she told The Express Tribune, “but a neighbour told me about this and I immediately informed the police.”
The complaint centre head, Safia Baloch, explained that the whole episode was a result of a lack of awareness. The cell’s SHO, Zuhra Shah, said that girls involved in child marriages and karo-kari disputes are kept at the cell before they are taken to court.
The cell has only one male police constable and very few staffers - eight female constables who work around the clock in shifts with very few facilities. The building was initially supposed to be a women’s police station but was turned into a complaint cell.
Published in The Express Tribune, September 30th, 2011.
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