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Practice of forcefully marrying of girls surfaces in Pakistan

Last Updated: Thursday, October 24, 2013 - 16:08

Peshawar: About 400 years after it was first introduced, Swara - the practice of forcefully marrying of girls, even minors, to resolve feuds between clans - continues in Pakistan`s northwestern Khyber Pakhtunkhwa province and?Federally Administered Tribal Areas.

Of late, a number of such incidents have come to light in the picturesque Swat valley, a stronghold of the Pakistani Taliban.

Swara is a child marriage custom in tribal areas of Pakistan and Afghanistan. It is tied to blood feuds among the different tribes and clans.

Young girls are forcibly married to members of different clans in order to resolve the feuds. Swara is also known as Sak, Vani and Sangchatti in different regional languages of Pakistan.

The custom started almost 400 years ago when two northwestern Pakistani Pashtun tribes fought a bloody war against each other.

However, fresh cases of Swara surfaced in Swat where five girls, including two minors, were given given away in Kalam and Matta tehsils of Swat district.
According to sources, Farzana had married Laiqzada in Bazkhela locality in the Matta Tehsil, in what wastermed as "love marriage".

A Jirga was held to settle the dispute between the two families which decided that six-year-old sister of Laiqzada would be married off to Farzana`s brother Habibullah, son of Mohammad Iqbal.

Police moved into action and registered a case against six persons, including Maulana Fazal Jamil, who had solemnised the marriage, Habibullah, Sherzada, Muhammad Iqbal, Sulaiman and Salar. Maulana Fazal Jamil and Habibullah were arrested while four persons escaped.

Raids were being conducted to nab the other accused.

Another four girls, including a minor, were given in Swara for settling two honour-related disputes in the Kalam Tehsil.

The decisions were made by two separate Jirgas held near the Kalam Bazaar.

The members of the first Jirga decided to give in Swara Farazia, daughter of Khan Gul, to Mohammad Sadiq, son of Abdul Khaliq.

First Published: Thursday, October 24, 2013 - 16:08
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