Five men have been arrested after a village council ordered a father to hand over his nine-year-old daughter as compensation in a rape case, officers said on Friday.
A Panchayat (council of elders) in the remote rural area of Bahalak in Punjab made the ruling to settle a year-long dispute between a farm worker and an influential landowner, Muhammad Khalid, the chief of local police station, told AFP.
The worker, Arshad, was accused of involvement in the abduction and rape of landowner Ali Sher’s daughter, Khalid said. “The Panchayat on Sunday decreed that Arshad would marry (off) his daughter Sidra to Ali Sher’s 22-year-old son Maqsood,” he explained.
“Arshad agreed verbally but Sidra, who is too young, remains with her family,” he said.
The marriage was not formally solemnised but the Panchayat made Arshad agree to pay Sher Rs400,000, if he did not honour the ruling.
Khalid said Arshad and four Panchayat members had been arrested.
The practice of “Vani”, giving daughters as compensation to end vendettas, is illegal and punishable by up to seven years in jail.
Published in The Express Tribune, November 10th, 2012.