DERA ISMAIL KHAN, Feb 8: A four-year-old girl was married to a 45-year-old man to settle a dispute under vani custom. Local police arrested 13 people, including members of a panchayat which had ordered the marriage. The accused were produced before the court of judicial magistrate who sent them to the judicial lock-up.
Those arrested included Mahboob, the man to whom the girl was married, Alamsher, the girl’s father; and Saifur Rehman, the panchayat leader. An FIR was registered against the accused at the Daraban police station on Wednesday under section 310-A of the Palastan Penal Code – incorporated after the enactment of the Criminal Law Amendment Act on January 11, 2005.
It is reported that a panchayat held in Gandi Umerkhel area had ordered a boy, Farooq, to pay Rs.l50,000 and stay away from the area for five years for eloping with a girl.
Later, Saifur Rehman persuaded the couple to return and their Nikah was solemnised. The panchayat met again and this time they decided to give the hand of four-year-old niece of Farooq to Mahboob, paternal uncle of his wife. The panchayat solemnised their Nikah.
As the incident was reported in the media, many organisations exerted pressure on rival groups and persuaded Mehboob to disassociate himself from the panchayat decision by divorcing the child.