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Three arrested for child marriage

By Khurram ShehZad

FAISALABAD: Three men were arrested by Saddar police from Jaranwala on Wednesday night over a 9-year-old girl’s marriage to a 40-year-old man. These included the groom, an uncle of the child and the nikah registrar. The ceremony took place on February 5.

SHO Usman Warraich said he raided the place and made the arrests after he was informed that the groom, Peeran Ditta, a resident of Dodiwala, had brought the child to her parents’ house on Wednesday.

Talking to The Express Tribune, the girl’s mother, Bushra, said she was kept in the dark about the marriage.

“Her uncle Nazir came to our house that day and took my husband out with him. Later that night they took the girl away while I was asleep and gave her away in marriage,” she said.

The child’s father, 75-year-old Mamand, said he had no role in choosing the groom. He said his brother, Nazir, and brother-in-law, Noor Ahmed, had approached him a week ago with the proposal. “I am an old man. I was concerned about my daughter’s future and agreed to marry her to Ditta,” he said. He said Ahmed’s son, Yasin, had been married to Ditta’s sister around five years ago. He speculated that his sister and her husband may have agreed to marry his daughter to Ditta in return for his sister’s marriage to their only son.

His sister, Ahmed’s wife, denied that she had made such a deal. She said her husband had arranged the match. She said she had tried to stop him and Nazir from pressing her brother to agree to the proposal.

Noor Ahmed rejected the charge against him during police questioning. He told the police that he had separated from his wife a few months ago. He said he was a guest at the Feb 5 marriage ceremony and had no knowledge of how it was arranged or who had no role in it.

Nikah registrar Muhammad Shahid said he was not aware of the girl’s age.

He said he had found out that the girl was underage the next day and had not registered the nikah with the union council office.

The girl told The Express Tribune that she was forced to sign the papers. She said she was going to school at her hometown, Sami Di Jhok. She said she wanted to continue her schooling and did not want to live with Ditta.

Earlier, Ditta told the police that he was convinced by his parents to go ahead with the marriage. He said he was a daily-wage labourer and did not hope to get married because of his meagre earnings. “I thought this was my only chance at starting a family,” he said.

The Saddar police have lodged an FIR under Sections 496 and 420 of the Pakistan Penal Code and Sections 1, 2 and 3 of the Child Marriage Act of 1929.

Source: The Express Tribune