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Move to check trafficking in women

PESHAWAR, April 5: A local councillor plans to move a resolution in the town council to check inter-provincial trafficking in women by making it binding on Nikah registrars to solemnise marriages after proper verification of bride, bridegroom and their families.

The councillor, Hasina Aman, also wants the registrars to ensure that “no exchange of money has taken place between the families”.

According to the proposed resolution, the bridegroom would be legally bound to present a No Objection Certificate (NOC) from the nazim of his district.

Ms Aman, an advocate and councillor of Town-I, said that she would present the resolution at the town council meeting on Friday.

“The bridegroom will have to produce proof of his business, identity and place of residence. The same condition would apply to his relatives, witnesses and those who make the match,” she said.

Under the proposed resolution, a person registering a marriage should ensure that there is no exchange of money between the families of bride and bridegroom. The Nikah registrar would also verify the age of the bride and bridegroom.

The councillor said that she was trying to convince the local government representatives to present a similar resolution in the district assembly so that the trafficking of women on the pretext of marriages could be curbed. She also appealed to women MPAs to support the idea in the provincial assembly.

Nikah registrars were solemnising marriages without making any inquiry about the bridegroom and his family and young girls were sold to other provinces, especially Punjab, after fake Nikah, she pointed out.

Ms Aman said the Nikah registrars being the licencee of the town administration should be made bound to verify bride and bridegroom and their families.

The resolution suggests that if a Nikah registrar fails to fulfil any of the requirements and shows ‘irresponsibility’ in the matter, his licence should be cancelled. “This should also be considered a punishable act.”

It also proposes that a Nikah registrar should be bound to record marriages of only those persons who are registered in his union council.

The trafficking of women on the pretext of marriage could be prevented if a person registering Nikah was made legally bound to take these verification measures, said Ms Aman.

“It is a violation of women’s rights and there should be a legislation to check the trafficking of women and punish those who are involved in this crime,” said Salma Hamayun, another town councillor.“There is a law to check the trafficking of women between the states, but there is no law to check the inter-provincial trafficking of women. Women are being misused and exploited in the name of marriage,” said Akber Khan, a lawyer and project-manager of the Eradication of Women Trafficking in Peshawar.

“Recently, there was a case in which a girl married a man in Bannu district and later she was sold for Rs90,000 to a man in Mianwali. Police recovered the girl after her parents registered an FIR,” said Jamal Afridi, a lawyer.

Such legislation has already been passed in the Chitral district.

Source: Dawn

Date:4/6/2007

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