12-year-old female child saved from suitor thrice her agePakistan
RAWALPINDI: Pirwadhai police saved 12-year-old girl from being married off to a 35-year-old married man by her brother on Monday evening in the outlawed tribal custom of vani.
A magistrate reunited Reshma of Mardan with her mother on Tuesday and sent her brother Jilal Hussain, the would-be groom Sher Gul, and three others associated with the forced nikkah proceedings, to jail on 15-day judicial remand.
“It was the first case of vani in Rawalpindi district and we are glad we saved Reshma in the nick of time,” City Police Officer Israr Ahmed Khan Abbasi told Dawn.
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Though outlawed, conservative tribal communities still practice vani in which elopement of a girl is punished by the eloper’s family giving in marriage a young girl of its own to the hurt family.
Police said a 15-year-old daughter of Sher Gul had eloped with and married Jilal last year. Though she returned to the family later, the feud continued to simmer, with Sher Gul demanding Reshma’s hand in vani.
Jilal is said to have brought her, without telling her mother, from Mardan to Rawalpindi where Sher Gul has been residing in Ziaul Haq Colony in Pirwadhai for 21 years.
Good luck, however, saved her in the nick of time as alarmed neighbours of Sher Gul alerted the area police.
Police raided the house, rescued the12-year-old sobbing ‘bride’ and arrested ‘groom’ Sher Gul, Jilal Hussain and three other men who were there to solemnise the betrothal - Qari Mohammad Khan and witnesses Bilal Hussain and Feroz Khan.
Reshma was also arrested but only to be reunited with her distressed mother after recording her statement with the magistrate before whom all accused were produced the next morning.
Published in Dawn, February 3rd, 2016