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9-year-old married to landlord’s son in ‘vani’

BUREWALA: A panchayat (village council) in Burewala forcibly married a nine-year-old girl with the son of a landlord under “vani” — a conservative ruling common in the rural areas.

“The panchayat made the ruling after Rab Nawaz, the father of victim Nazia, married his maternal cousin,” Nazia, her mother Anwar Bibi, sister Aasia, uncle Haq Nawaz, and lambardar Muhammad Iqbal told a press conference at the local press club. They said that family members of the newly married bride were not happy with Nawaz’s wedding.

“They, therefore, asked the panchayat to marry Rab Nawaz’s daughters Nazia and Shazia, 7, with Khalid and Muhammad Yasin, the brothers of the new bride,” they said. They said that the panchayat could not bear the pressure and ruled in favour of Muhammad Nawaz, the father of Khalid and Muhammad Yasin.

“The panchayat ordered Muhammad Nawaz, the prayer leader of the area, to solemnise the marriage of Nazia with Khalid,” they alleged. Reportedly, Khalid and his family members tried to take Nazia with them after the ‘solemnisation’ but her family members and villagers stopped them. “They will take my daughter with them if police don’t protect her,” Anwar Bibi, Nazia’s mother, said. Muhammad Nawaz, the prayer leader, said Khalid and his family members had forced him to solemnise the marriage.

Panchayat leader Mian Akram admitted that he had chaired the meeting of the village council. However, he denied that he had ordered to marry minor Nazia with Khalid. “Yes. I headed the panchayat, but I did not made such a ruling. To marry Nazia with Khalid was the sole decision of his family,” he said.
Source: Daily Times
Date:3/27/2008

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