Police rescue under-age girl from abusive forced marriage -Pakistan Press Foundation (PPF)

Paksitan Press Foundtion

Police rescue under-age girl from abusive forced marriage

By Irfan Rana

Eight-year-old Zareena and nine-year-old Mehmood sit in a jail in Quetta. PHOTO: NNI

QUETTA: An eight-year-old girl who was forcibly married to a young boy for Rs100,000 was recovered by the police here on Sunday. Eight-year-old Zareena* alleged that her in-laws used to beat her ever since she was forced to marry nine-year-old Mehmood* two years ago.

At that time Zareena’s father, Taimur Shah, who allegedly was a heroin addict, offered to sell his daughter to his acquaintance Gul Zameen, for a considerable sum. Shah suggested that Zareena marry Gul Zameen’s young son, Mehmood, and said he would accept Rs100,000 as ‘walwar,’ a form of dowry.

When Shah received the money from Gul Zameen he packed up the rest of his family and fled across the border to Afghanistan. He is now said to live in Mazaar-i-Sharif.

Meanwhile, Zareena was sent to live with her in-laws. According to the young girl, Gul Zameen and his family used to abuse her and treat her badly.

On Sunday, she fled from the house and took refuge in a neighbour’s home. Zareena told her neighbours about the abuse, and they contacted an NGO and the police.

“She came to us begging for help, saying her in-laws would kill her otherwise,” said Rozi Khan, the neighbour who called the police. “When we heard her story we couldn’t just let her go back there, we had to call the police. If we hadn’t, even worse could have happened,” he told Express News.

Upon hearing the story, SP Saryab region Shahnawaz Khan sent an officer to take the girl to a children’s home run by Seher, an NGO. The police also went to Gul Zameen’s house and took Gul Zameen and his young son into custody.

SP Shahnawaz Khan said the case would be handled according to the law, and added that the girl would live in the NGO-run home until her parents could be tracked down.
Source: The Express Tribune
Date:7/19/2010