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Panchayat decree: 13-year-old ‘vani’, mother flee

BAHAWALPUR: A woman left her house on Tuesday, taking along her 13-year-old daughter after a village panchayat in Sadiqabad declared the child ‘vani’ to settle an alleged elopement complaint, The Express Tribune has learnt.

Bashir Ahmed, uncle of the child, said his brother Nazir Ahmed, who worked in Jhelum, had been accused of eloping with a woman from the neighbourhood on March 30.

He said the woman’s husband, Sharif Tarhaili, a resident of Goth Aaloo, called a panchayat on April 13 that declared Nazir’s daughter ‘vani’. He said the panchayat, headed by Raees Shahid Iqbal Tarhaili, a former Kot Sanjar Khan union council nazim, directed Nazir’s wife Samina Bibi to marry the girl to Sharif, 45, a father of seven.

Bashir said after Samina Bibi refused to comply, Sharif threatened to forcibly take her daughter away.

He said Sharif did not have a proof that his wife had run away with Nazir, except that both of them had gone missing on the same day. He said his brother was in Jhelum the day Sharif’s wife went missing. He said her husband had since then been accusing Nazir of wooing her to run away with him.

Bashir said he was looking for his brother with help from some contacts in Jhelum.

He said that Sharif had sent some men to Samina Bibi’s house on Monday night to take the girl away. He said the men left after some neighbours intervened on hearing the family’s shouts for help. He said after the incident, his sister-in-law had called him for help and that he had helped her and the girl to move to a safer place in another village.

He said he had been visiting the Kot Sabzal police station, but the police had been uncooperative. He said Sharif was an influential landlord and had probably bribed the police. He said he feared that Sharif’s men would find his sister-in-law and the girl and might harm them. He said he had tried to approach DSP Allah Dad, but failed.

Kot Sabzal naib moharrar Umar Farooq said that the police had not received any complaint. He said station house officer was in the Machh area, where mobile phone coverage was not reliable.

Source: The Express Tribune

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