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Two girls start defying vani

MIANWALI – Media and non-government organizations have successfully created awareness among women, who have now started defying their elders’ pledges to marry them with the persons with whom they had been engaged in their infancy.

In an incident of this nature, two college students have refused to marry addicts with whom they were engaged in their childhood as vani (a tradition in which the girls are married to seek pardon for the wrongdoings of their elders).

This was revealed at a press conference organized by HRCP District Coordinator Advocate Khalilur Rahman and Karwan Community Development Organization Director Ziaullah Khan on Friday.

Advocate Khalil, who had the NICs and attested statements of the girls, told newsmen that the commission had appealed to President Gen Pervez Musharraf and the chief justice to save the girls.

In December 1985, Amanullah Khan, son of Sher Muhammad Khan, had killed Alam Jan’s son Ataullah over a land dispute. During the trial of the case at Mianwali sessions court in 1987, both the parties had made a compromise that the accused would give Rs220,000 and her two daughters Kalsoom Akhtar and Perveen Akhtar (who were five and three years old, respectively) as vani. The accused paid the amount.

At a village jury comprising 58 notables of the town, headed by Pir Baqir Shah (who is still a very influential figure of the area), it was decided that the girls would be married to Ikramullah Khan and Shafaullah Khan, the sons of deceased Ataullah Khan, on attaining their puberty.

Kalsoom Bibi is studying in fourth year at the Government College for Women while her younger sister is a second year student at the Islamia College, Daudkhel. But the two brothers allegedly turned out to be addicts and are jobless these days.

Being in a better social position, the two brothers and their family have threatened to kidnap the girls in case of their refusal. The girls’ father, an employee in a cement factory, has seven daughters and the only son whom his opponents have threatened to harm.

The HRCP official said the girls had vowed to commit suicide instead of marrying the addicts. When contacted, some of the members of the jury said Amanullah should honour his words. They criticized him for educating his daughters.

It is pertinent to mention that police had earlier intervened and got the statements of the girls recorded with the judicial magistrate, but the girls had to yield under family pressure.

Source: Dawn