PESHAWAR: Court concerned over sale of girls
PESHAWAR, April 24 2006: The Peshawar High Court has expressed concern over sale of girls in the NWFP on the pretext of marriage and requested the chief justice to issue appropriate orders in this regard. PHC Chief Justice Tariq Pervez Khan, while deciding a bail petition of a man charged with selling a girl, observed: “A very alarming social evil has become a practice in this part of the province which has to be addressed by all institutions which are concerned with law and order including the judiciary besides the legislature and executive.”
In the detailed judgment in the case, decided on April 14, the chief justice observed that the court had taken serious note of some unethical and un-Islamic traditions prevailing in Pakistan, like giving girls as ‘swara’ or in Sindh and lower Punjab as ‘vani’, but this was another aspect of the immoral activity which required to be taken notice of. Petitioner Noor Rehman was charged with selling a girl in connivance with her husband and some other members of a gang of traffickers in district Swat to a cleric in Punjab in 2003, when the victim was 13 years old.
The chief justice dismissed the bail petition. The victim, Razia Bibi, had been married to Ehsan Mohammad three months before her disappearance. The chief justice observed that poor parents who could not feed their children sent their sons to the market to undertake labour while girls were sold in Punjab under the garb of marriage to old men before they attained puberty to get rid of their liabilities.
The bench observed that such marriages were exploited by the parents of the girls who after a couple of months brought the girls back and sent them with their husbands after receiving more money or sold them to another man. “But where the girl is taken on payment of money, the so-called husband from Punjab, any other province or within the NWFP, has least interest in the sacred relations of husband and wife and the poor girls ultimately land into some brothel,” the judgment said.
The chief justice observed that to curb social evils was not primarily the job of the judiciary but of the legislature and the executive. “However, someone has to come forward and take upon himself to discharge his moral obligations by raising a voice for the protection of poor girls who are sold out like saleable commodities,” the judgment adds.
“I would like that a copy of this judgment is placed before the honourable chief justice of Pakistan for any appropriate order as he, in the circumstances, deems fit with further request that the matter be taken up by the chief justice of Pakistan in a meeting of National Judicial Committee,” the PHC chief justice said.