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British girl rejects forced marriage claim

NOWSHERA, July 18: A British girl of Pakistani origin informed officials of the British High Commission that she was marrying her cousin with her choice and the allegations of forced marriage were incorrect.

The officials were conducting an inquiry into the allegations of forced marriage of the girl by her parents.

The girl named Amna belongs to Saleh Khana village, popularly known as Chota London (Small London), due to large number of its residents having British citizenship.

Two officials of the commission identified as Mr Theepan, a vice counsellor, and a female official Ms Neelam, visited Saleh Khana, situated on the Cherat Road off the Grand Trunk Road, and conducted an inquiry into the allegations.

It is learnt that a person named Wajahat, a resident of Peshawar, had sent a complaint to the High Commission, wherein he had alleged that the parents of Amna had brought her to Pakistan from UK and had now been marrying her to a person against her will. He alleged that this was a case of forced marriage.

The visiting officials recorded statements of various persons including the local union council Nazim Gul Bacha Khattak. They also collected information from the neighbours and other residents of the locality.

Ms Neelam met Amna and inquired from her about the issue. The girl stated that Wajahat was her cousin and he had been blackmailing her family.

Amna stated that she was marrying her cousin Iftikhar and that the decision was taken by her family. She added that she was marrying Iftikhar with her choice. Amna added that she was an adult and knew very well what was right for her.

The Mehndi ceremony was held Friday night, whereas the marriage would be solemnised on Sunday. The family also invited the officials to attend the marriage ceremony.

After conducting the inquiry, the officials left the area and permitted the family to carry out the marriage functions.
Source: dawn
Date:7/19/2008

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