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Jirga orders man to barter teenage sister in marriage

SUKKUR: A jirga held in the Atal Muradani village four days ago, situated in the Sarhad police limits of district Ghotki, ordered a man to give his teenage sister in marriage to resolve a free-will marriage dispute.

According to sources, the jirga was held under the presidency of an influential landlord, Akbar Mahar. After hearing both the parties, the jirga declared Niaz Mahar guilty of tying a free-will marriage knot with Naheed Mahar, daughter of Ali Sher Mahar. After the verdict, the jirga imposed a fine of Rs600,000 and ordered the boy to ‘barter’ his teenage sister, Sabira, for marriage to resolve the dispute.

Protesting the verdict

Expressing her disapproval with the jirga’s verdict, Niaz’s mother Qaim Khatoon and her daughter staged a protest outside the SSP office in Mirpur Mathelo. “I don’t even know where the couple is,” said Khatoon. “Akbar and his men tried to kidnap my daughter and therefore I am here, demanding protection.”

When contacted, Ghotki SSP Abdul Salam Shaikh said he was unaware of the Jirga. “I have not received any information regarding a jirga or the order to barter the girl,” he claimed. However, he said that he is investigating into the matter.

The incident

Three months ago, Niaz and Naheed, both residents of Atal Muradani, got married out of their own free will. The marriage sparked enmity between the two families and some of the elders intervened and managed to separate the couple. Since then, Naheed has been living with her parents. Four days ago, influential landlord Akbar Mahar, uncle of Naheed, presided over a jirga and ordered the barter of Niaz’s 14-year-old sister in marriage. Since Niaz was not happy with the verdict of the jirga, he and Naheed eloped again and have now gone into hiding.

Express Tribune