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Five girls fall victim to ‘swara’

By: Sheerinzada

KALAM: Two tribal jirgas in Kalam ordered on Monday that five girls be handed over under the ‘swara’ custom to settle family disputes. The police has been ordered to arrest jirga members and recover the girls immediately.

Swara is an ancient custom practised among Pakhtuns under which girls — even minors — are married, against their will, to men of rival families to settle disputes.

District Police Officer Sher Akbar Khan said Muhammad Hussain, a resident of Kalam, had allegedly had a love affair with Abdul Khaliq’s daughter and had eloped with her.

The jirga ordered that Hussain’s sister, niece and daughter, who is only one and a half years old, be given away in marriage.

DPO Khan said that in another case, a local resident Sher Bahadar’s sister and niece were about to be given to Abdul Malik under swara because Bahadar had, allegedly, kidnapped Malik’s daughter. The jirga had also imposed Rs300,000 fine which Bahadar has to pay.

According to the Child Marriage Restraint Act 1929, the minimum age of marriage in Pakistan is 16.

Express Tribune