QUETTA - The Supreme Court on Tuesday took a suo motu notice of a jirga’s decision in Dera Bugti district to give away 13 girls in marriage to settle a dispute.
The court ordered a probe into the alleged barter of 13 girls to settle the blood feud. Chief Justice of Pakistan Iftikhar Chaudhry began proceedings into the allegations.
A tribal council had ordered the barter in early September, the district deputy commissioner, Saeed Faisal, told the court. He did not know the girls’ ages but local media reported they were between four and 13 years old. However, the advocate general for Balochistan could not confirm the incident. The Chief Justice ordered Faisal to make sure that all members of the tribal jirga appear in the court today (Wednesday), as well as a local lawmaker who belongs to one of the two sub-tribes believed involved in the incident.
Apart from deciding to give the 13 girls in marriage, the jirga also allegedly imposed a fine of Rs3 million on the accused.
It all started when Roshan Khan alias Pilia Masuri Bugti murdered Mira Khan, brother of one Karam Khan Shahani. Mr Masuri claimed that neither he chaired any jirga nor he had any other information about it.
‘Vani’ is a custom in which the offending party gives females to the males of the victim party to settle murder cases.
The Prevention of Anti-Women Practices Act, passed in 2011, criminalised the practice, stating: “Whoever gives a female in marriage or otherwise compels her to enter into marriage, as ‘badla-e-sulh’, vani, or swara or any other custom or practice under any name, in consideration of settling a civil dispute or criminal liability, shall be punished with imprisonment of either description for a term which may extend to seven years but shall not be less than three years and shall also be liable to fine of five hundred thousand rupees.”