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Court tells swara girl to stay at crisis centre

PESHAWAR: The Peshawar High Court on Tuesday disposed of a writ petition of a teenaged girl alleging that her family members wanted to give her in swara for settling a feud, with the direction that she should stay at a local Women Crisis Centre.

A two-member bench comprising Chief Justice Ejaz Afzal Khan and Justice Mazhar Alam Miankhel issued the directives after the girl, Zar Wari, told the court that she did not want to go with her family members as she feared of being harmed.

The girl had escaped from her residence on Oct 12 and submitted an application to the chief justice seeking protection and stating that her family members including her uncle and brother intended to give her in swara to an old Afghan man, Manan, who was already married and had children.

The girl claimed that many years ago when she was an infant a young Afghan girl, Zar Guloona, had eloped with her uncle, Zahir Khan alias Mullah Jan, and they got married. She stated that a jirga at that time had decided that she would be given in swara to a cousin of the said girl and her marriage would be solemnised once she attained puberty.

The chief justice had converted her application into a writ petition and ordered that she should be provided shelter at the crisis centre.

On the directives of the court the local police arrested the uncle of the girl, Zahir Khan, and he was produced before the court. The man denied the allegations leveled by his niece and stated that neither he had given her in swara nor he intended to do so.

The mother and brother of the girl also stated that they would act in accordance with her wishes. They asked the girl to return home.

Source: Dawn

Date:11/2/2011

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