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Vani victims seek justice

MANSEHRA: Two brothers on Sunday complained that a religious leader forcibly performednikah (marriage ritual) of their young daughters under the vani custom (a local tradition to solve enmities) in the district.

Mohammad Ayub, father of Nazi Bibi, and Mohammad Sadiq, father of Noreen Bibi, told the media that a jirga was held at Sathan Gali area of Mansehra recently where Maulana Shamsur Rehman forcibly performed nikah of Nazi Bibi, 9, with a married man Hassan Dar and Noreen Bibi, 3, with Mohammad Yasir.

The fathers sought justice, saying that they were poor and their opponents were influential people. While giving details of their ordeals, both brothers said that one of their brothers Mohammad Mehboob and a woman Rukhtaj Bibi had fled the area and got married in a court in Karachi earlier this year.

On Dec 10, father of Rukhtaj Bibi called a jirga to settle the dispute. The elders of the area including Mohammad Yaqub and Khasta Aman attended the jirga. Besides the forced marriages, they were told to pay Rs0.2 million as compensation to the father of the woman who had married their brother.

They complained that the jirga and opponent family members were exerting pressure and threatening them of dire consequences to hand over their minor girls to them.

Police have launched investigation on the written complaint Gul Taj Bibi, mother of a victim girl, said Sardar Ajmal, SHO Battle police.

Meanwhile, a religious scholar, Maulana Naeemullah said that cases of Vani were on the rise in Mansehra district due to lack of knowledge. He claimed that in Siren valley, where the jirga took place, dozens of similar cases happened recently but none of the culprits were taken to task.

He said that some criminals were behind the incidents as they received money from both parties in the name of providing them protection.
Source: Dawn
Date:12/21/2009

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