Ten members of a jirga were arrested for ordering marriage of a 13-year-old girl to an old man. The decision had been taken to settle a dispute between two families have been arrested by the police in the remote Beshbund locality of Mingora.
District Police Officer Swat Gul Afzal Afridi told The Express Tribune that four members of the jirga were arrested on Sunday, while six others including the would-be husband were arrested a day earlier. The DPO said the arrested men were presented before the court of a duty magistrate, who sent them to jail on judicial remand. He said the men have been arrested under Section 310-A and 506 of the Pakistan Penal Code.
The case of swara, an old Pashtun custom where girls are forcibly married to men of rival families to settle feuds, came to light after the girl, Sadia*, her brothers and her father were arrested by the Manglore police on directions of a local jirga that convened at the Manglore Police Station earlier. The jirga members had decided to marry Sadia to an old man of an influential family after her brother was charged with having an extra-marital relationship with a woman from that family. The jirga members had told the girl’s family to either agree to the marriage or pay a compensation of Rs253,000; otherwise they will imprison all of them.
When Sadia’s lawyer approached a sessions court, the Manglore police, fearing action against them, presented the four in court. The judge sent Sadia to a magistrate’s court to record her statement, in which, she said she was being pressurised by the police and the influential family to marry a much older man against her will.
She claimed that the opposing party had accused her brother of having illicit relations with their daughter, and her brother had confessed and married in court.
The court, after hearing her statement, decided to hand her over to her family. It also directed the police to provide her protection and take action against the jirga members.
Published in The Express Tribune, September 10th, 2012.
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