Minor sold into marriage -Pakistan Press Foundation (PPF)

Paksitan Press Foundtion

Minor sold into marriage

The life of a 12-year old girl, ‘R,’ has been shattered by her sister ‘N’ who sold the young girl to an old man belonging to the Korangi neighbourhood.

The conspiracy was hatched by N’s husband, Iqbal, who forged documents, including a Nikahnama and an affidavit of free will with the signatures of a religious leader and witnesses, keeping R in the dark. Once the relevant documents were complete, they introduced R to Ghulam, saying that he was her husband and that she had to live with him.

Ghulam repeatedly assaulted R for more than a month, until she was rescued by her father who brought her home. Subsequently, Iqbal and Ghulam started threatening to kidnap R to take her back to her alleged husband.

R, a student of class three, narrated her plight aton Thursday the office of Madagar, an NGO. “When my sister N was with child, she requested my father to send me over so that I could help with her household chores,” she said, adding that she was shocked after hearing the decision of her brother-in-law and sister.

R’s father, Noor Ahmed, and Madadgar head Zia Ahmed Awan also accompanied the girl during the press conference at the Madadgar office. “I don’t know how much they received for giving the hand of my daughter away to a man we had never seen before. After a few days when I went to visit N at her house, both she and her husband were missing without a clue,” Ahmed said. After a lot of efforts Noor Ahmed was able to locate them and came to discover that his daughter and son-in-law had married R off to Ghulam, son of Haji Sawan.

“Observing the indifferent attitude of my married daughter and son-in-law I went to the Zaman Town Police Station to register the case. However, the police refused to register the case for four days,” said Ahmed.

He said after that he visited the Madadgar office for help. They approached the police to register the case.

Zia Awan said the police had arrested Iqbal but the other accused, including N, Ghulam, the nikahkhwan and the fake witnesses are still at large even though a case has been registered against them.

Awan accused the police of being reluctant to arrest the culprits and bringing them to justice, even though they had clearly violated the laws by doctoring forged documents used to trap and force an underage girl into marriage.

The father of the victim said he was still receiving threats from the culprits asking him to withdraw cases registered against them and hand his daughter over to the alleged husband.

Ahmed demanded the safety of his daughter and himself from the authorities concerned. The victim, on the other hand, demanded punishment for the culprits who had destroyed her life. A Madadgar survey conducted through reports appeared in local dailies reveals that during the last eight months of this year, 942 cases of child abuse, and 1,893 cases of abuse of women have been reported.

Out of these, 45 children were reported to be victims of underage marriages while 105 women and 25 children were forced into marriage.

During the same period, 99 children and 135 women were subjected to criminal assault while 115 women and 69 children were gang-raped. Moreover, 42 women and 47 children were trafficked during this time, while 55 children were reported to be criminally assaulted
Source: The News
Date:8/22/2008