Bid to hand over girl in swara foiled -Pakistan Press Foundation (PPF)

Paksitan Press Foundtion

Bid to hand over girl in swara foiled

MARDAN, March 05, 2006: The handing over of an eight-year-old girl to the rival family in swara was averted here at Mayar village due to the successful intervention by a non-governmental organisation last week.

The organisation, Anthropology Development Islamabad (ADI), sought the help of the Mardan district police officer (DPO), Abid Ali, after the concerned jirga members declined to accept its request for revoking the jirga’s decision regarding the handing over of the girl to the rival family.

It is learnt that the DPO took personal interest in the issue and made it possible to save the girl from the custom of swara under which girls are handed over to the rival group for resolving disputes.

The coordinator of Aurat Foundation, Sakhawat Shah, who also works for ADI, told this correspondent that a boy, Arif Khan, was gunned down by the family of Fazlullah of Mayar village in 2001 over a petty issue.

After four years elders of the village set a jirga to iesolve the dispute. The jirga decided that the dispute could only be solved after giving a girl in swara by Fazlullah’s family.

In the Swara the accused family would have to give the hand of an eight-year-old girl to the victim’s family.

Sakhwat Shah told that when ADI learnt about Swara they first contacted elders of the Jirga and asked them that Swara was illegal and be refrained from the marriage however they refused to hear them.

He said that later on they approached the DPO who pressurised them and warned that Swara was illegal and they would have to face the consequences if they remained adamant on the marriage. The jirga members agreed and reversed their decision. He claimed that elders of both side agreed and gave Rs 150,000 cash and a house to the victim’s family as compensation for the murder.

He said that it was a great success on the part of ADI because the curse of Swara cases in Mardan district was common. He disclosed that ADI had planned to conduct a survey against the Swara cases and soon they would prepare a report over the Swara cases and would make their efforts to made this curse public. He further informed that seminars and sessions would also be conducted to create awareness among the locals of Mardan district.
Source: Dawn