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Girl recovered from tribal areas on courts order

PESHAWAR: The administration of the Mansehra district recovered a girl from the adjoining tribal areas late on Saturday night on the directives of the Chief Justice of Pakistan. Chief Justice Iftikhar Mohammad Chaudhry had directed the NWFP home secretary on Nov 24 to recover the girl, Zahida, from the provincially administered tribal area of Kala Dhaka. The girl’s parents had alleged that her cousin, Abdul Khaliq, had abducted her and forcibly married her two years ago. They had sent an application to the CJ, who had summoned high-ranking officials, including NWFP home secretary Badshah Gul Wazir.

“The girl has been given in protective custody of a notable of the area and will be produced in the Supreme Court on Dec 15,” Shakeel Qadir Khan, Mansehra DCO, told Dawn on telephone. The girl’s mother-in-law is also staying with her. The DCO said it was a difficult task to recover the girl in view of tribal customs and traditions. He said authorities had sought a local jirga’s help, but it had declined the request. “We had told the concerned tribe that we had to obey the court order at any cost,” he said.

When asked if it was a case of forced marriage, Mr Khan said he could not comment on that aspect of the case and it was up to the Supreme Court to decide. “Everything would be clear after production of the girl before the Chief Justice,” he added. It is learnt that the administration adopted different measures for pressurising members of the Madakhel tribe, to which Abdul Khalid belongs, to hand over the girl to the administration.

The administration had suspended various facilities the tribe had been getting. Under the collective responsibility clause of the Frontier Crimes Regulation, salaries of various government officials of the tribe had been stopped and several members of the tribe serving in the levies force had been suspended. This forced Abdul Khalid’s family to hand over the girl to the administration. It is learnt that the Islamabad police have detained Abdul Kahlid’s brother Abdul Malik, who is an employee in the Frontier Corps. The girl’s family used to live in the Pulhra area of Mansehra and had shifted to Kala Dhaka eight years ago.
Source: Dawn
Date:12/11/2006

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