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Vani victim moves court against marriage

MANSEHRA: A victim of vani, a local tradition meant to settle blood feud, on Monday moved a local court for invalidating her ‘forced’ marriage.

“I was three-day-old only when a jirga was held to settle an honour-related dispute. The jirga declared me vani and solemnised my nikkah with a boy. Now, I am mature and don’t want to go with him and therefore, the court should nullify my nikkah,” Ayesha, 18, told a news conference here on Monday.

The girl had submitted a written complaint to the Public and Police Safety Commission, which filed the case with the court of the district and sessions judge, Mansehra, Rafiq Hussain.

Ms Ayesha, who was accompanied by her father, Jan Mohammad, said in 1994, she was of three days old when Aasia and Said Khan of her village, Jabory, got married on their own free will but against the consent of their parents, and fled the village.

She said instead of Said Khan, the family of Aasia lodged a case with police of kidnapping against members of her family, including her father.

Ms Ayesha said a jirga, which was summoned to settle the dispute, declared her vani and instantly solemnised her nikkah with a minor boy, Zaibal Hussain, when she was three days old only.

She said her ‘in-laws’ had threatened her family of dire consequences if she didn’t go with her ‘husband’.
“My in-laws also attempted two times to kidnap me outside a seminary but people rescued me. Now, they are threatening to kill my father,” she said.

Ms Ayesha said a jirga was recently held to convince her in-laws to divorce her but they refused to do so until they’re paid Rs300,000 compensation.