Outdated custom: One abducted, eight held in separate vani cases

Two girls pay the price of family feuds and jirga verdicts.

Muhammad Sadaqat October 05, 2012


A girl has been abducted while eight persons have been apprehended in connection of two vani cases reported from separate localities of Mansehra.

In the first case, a group of armed men barged into a house and took away a girl after fastening her parents to ropes and beating them up in Kund Bela village, family sources said on Thursday.

Battal Police confirmed the report but have not registered an FIR, saying inquiry into the matter was underway.

The victim’s brother, Muhammad Ali* told newsmen that someone had set the house of his paternal uncle, Mian Khan, on fire about 12 years back.

The jirga had decided the matter against Ali’s father, Ikram Rehman*, forcing him to give his then two-year-old daughter, Sanam* Bibi, as vani for Khan’s son.

Back then, Ali said, his father had reluctantly deferred to the jirga’s decision on a condition that Bibi would be married only after completing her education. She was now a tenth grader at a local government school, he added.

On Wednesday evening, Ali said, Khan and over a dozen armed men barged into his house. They fastened his parents to ropes, subjected them to severe physical assault and forcibly took away his sister.

He said he lodged a complaint with the police but they did not register an FIR against the accused or recover his abducted sister.

When contacted, the police said that they and would register a case upon completion of the inquiry.

Meanwhile, the same police arrested eight people including a cleric for declaring a girl as vani to settle a blood feud between two families in a remote village of Manshera.

SHO Shah Jehan Khan said that he was informed that Mehrunisa*, the elder daughter of Gulzar Shakir* of Dana Sharkol village, was engaged to Muhammad Khan, son of Karim Dad of the same village. But a few months back, she eloped with Musa Khan, a resident of Attock and solemnised court marriage with him.

When Karim Dad inquired the matter, he found that Mehrunisa left home with the consent of her parents, who allegedly received Rs2,75000 from Musa’s family. An infuriated Karim Dad called a jirga on Monday.

According to the SHO, the jirga members held Gulzar responsible and asked him for his youngest daughter Aisha* Bibi,7, as vani for the younger son of Karim Dad. On jirga’s verdict, Aisha’s nikah was solemnised with Munsif,9.

However, the SHO said, he raided the houses of the jirga members and arrested eight of them including a prayer leader. The arrested men are Aziz Khan, Gulzar, Karim Dad, Hasan Khan, Khaliq Dad, Zafar, Ali Akbar, Sanobar and Israel.

*Names have been changed to protect identities

Published in The Express Tribune, October 5th, 2012.


JoelB | 9 years ago | Reply

"Vani" - they call it 'outdated custom' but in reality it is modern day slavery. Women/girls are not property to be 'promised' to pay off a debt.

Nayla | 9 years ago | Reply

"outdated custom"? Try "outdated crimes against humanity".

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