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Minor girls engaged to settle feud!

SUKKUR, May 30: Fifteen under-age girls of the Chakrani tribe were engaged to “marry” Qalandari tribesmen on Friday to settle a blood feud between the two tribes.

On Wednesday, the Chakrani tribe had pledged to “marry off” three- to 10-year-old girls to settle the feud with the Qalandari tribe, which erupted after the latter tribe’s dog bit a donkey belonging to the former.

The eight-year-old dispute was settled in a jirga held in Lanjoo Saghari village near the Sindh-Balochistan border. Sakhi Mithal Khan Jakhrani and Sher Ali Khan Mazari chaired the jirga. However, the Chakranis have so far refused to accept the verdict.

The tribal feud has so far claimed the lives of 11 Qalandaris and two Chakranis, including a woman.

The jirga decided to implement a decision announced by Nawab Akbar Khan Bugti in 2002, according to which the Chakrani tribe will pay a fine of Rs4 million while the Qalandaris will pay Rs1.2 million to the other and marry off a girl every month irrespective of the ages of their “fiancés”.

Kashmore-Kandhkot DPO Mohammad Younus Chandio and DCO Abid Shaikh were not available for comments.

According to Kashmore-based journalists, the two officials denied that the jirga had taken place in their jurisdiction and, therefore, they were unable to do anything.

Marrying off under-age girls to settle tribal disputes or crimes like murder or adultery is a common practice among tribes of Sindh and Balochistan.

A few years ago, the Sukkur circuit bench of the Sindh High Court had declared the holding of a jirga illegal on a public interest petition filed by lawyer-cum-human rights activist Ghulam Shabbir Shar.

The then chief justice Iftikhar Mohammad Chaudhry had taken suo motu notice of such a jirga presided over by PPP leader Mir Hazar Khan Bijarani. The jirga had ordered a tribe to give three under-age girls in marriage to their rivals to settle a dispute.

The chief justice’s timely intervention had saved the girls from being sacrificed at the altar of tribal customs.
Source: Dawn

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