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Vani victims to be handed over to parents today

MANSEHRA, Aug 19: Two minor girls, taken to Kala Dhaka from Karachi under the tribal custom of Vani, would be handed over back to their parents here on Wednesday, an official told Dawn.

The two sisters — six-year-old Saira and eight-year-old Zeenat — were reportedly kidnapped from Karachi by their uncle Shah Tareen six months earlier. The accused had handed over the girls to his rival group as a part of Vani for resolving a dispute originated seven years earlier when he married a girl Jannat Bibi without consent of her family.

The decision to handover the girls to the rival group were taken by a jirga in Kala Dhaka, a semi tribal area of Mansehra included in the Provincially Administered Tribal Areas (Pata).

It is learnt that a grand jirga met in Oghi tehsil on Tuesday and decided that the girls should be handed over to their parents. The father of the girls Taj Zareen, after failing to get back his daughters from the parents of Jannat Bibi, had registered an FIR at the Site police in Karachi. Despite hectic efforts by the Sindh home ministry, the recovery of the girls could not be made possible through normal means and on the orders of the Sindh High Court, the home department sought the help of the NWFP government to recover the girls and the provincial home department directed the political administration of Kala Dhaka to recover the girls.

The grand jirga was held with Jamshad Khan, political tehsildar Kala Dhaka, in the chair, in which among others the elders of Akazai tribes, parents of the girls and Abdul Razaq Khan, a representative of the provincial minister for religious affairs were present.

The elders of Akazai tribe including Yarkan Khan, Aslam Khan, Yar Mohammad Khan, Abdul Malik and Noor Mohammad expressed their reservations over handing over the girls back to their parents stating that it would result in resumption of enmity between the two families.

They said that the girls were given in Vani to the rival family for settling the dispute. However, the elders agreed to hand over the sisters to their parents on the condition that their tribe might be compensated in return.

Sources privy to jirga said that it was also discussed to hand over a minor daughter of Shah Tareen to the rival tribe, but the decision could not be finalised and other options were discussed to end the enmity permanently. Jamshad Khan told Dawn that both girls would be handed over to their parents on Wednesday as per decision of the jirga.

When asked what would be given to the rival tribe in return, the official said that the Akazai tribe had been demanding a five-year-old daughter of accused Shah Tareen as a part of the Vani tradition to end the enmity between the two families forever.
Source: Dawn

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