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Help sought for girl sold to settle gambling debt

HYDERABAD, Feb 26: The mother of a teenage girl, allegedly sold by her (late) father when she was one-year-old after incurring heavy debt in gambling, has threatened to immolate herself if the girl, now 16, is not saved from being handed over to a middle-aged man.

Speaking at a news conference at the press club here on Monday, Ms Nooran, of Zeal Pak Colony, Latifabad, said her late husband Rahib was a gambler and he had sold their one-year-old daughter Rasheeda for Rs10,000 to one Lal Hyder after incurring heavy debt in gambling. She said that her parents gave her Rs10,000 and she returned the money to Lal.

She said that Lal was pressuring her to marry off Rasheeda to his son. She said her sons Peeral and Abdul Wahab were receiving threats.

She threatened to immolate herself if she and her family were not saved from harassment and provided protection from Lal, his son Ghani and others.

Taking notice of the press conference, Hyderabad District Police Officer Ali Ahmed Junejo ordered registration of a case and the Site police station registered an FIR under Sections 147, 148, 149, 504 and 506(2) of the Pakistan Penal Code against 10 people.

Police teams have been constituted for the arrest of the accused.

Reuters adds: Rasheeda said she had filed applications with police and a local councillor asking them to prevent Lal Hyder from taking her to his home.

Nooran said her husband had racked up the debt of Rs10,000 to Lal playing cards.

“My husband didn’t have money to pay, and instead he told Lal that he could take Rasheeda when she grows up,” she said.

Despite being paid his money, she said, Lal still insisted the girl should be given to him because of tribal customs.

Both families belong to the same tribe.

The girl’s uncle, Dur Mohammad, said Lal apparently wanted to marry the girl to his son.

Khalid Rajput, a local councillor, said the decision that Rasheeda should be handed over had been taken last week at a tribal council.

“We know some tribal elders from Balochistan came for the meeting in which the girl’s family was told to give her as per their customs,” he said.

Irfan Bhutto, a police officer, said Lal had been summoned. “We will ensure the girl does not have to do anything against her will.”

Source: Dawn