Minor girls betrothed to settle tribal feud

May 31st, 2008 - 5:39 pm ICT by admin  

A file-photo of Pervez Musharraf

Islamabad, May 31 (IANS) Fifteen under-aged girls of a tribe living along the Sindh-Balochistan border have been betrothed to men from another tribe to settle an eight-year-old blood feud that started with a dog biting a donkey. The girls belong to the Chakrani tribe and the men to the Qalandari tribe. The engagement ceremony was conducted Friday.

The Chakrani tribe had on Wednesday pledged to marry off the girls, aged three to 10, to settle the feud with the Qalandari tribe that erupted after the latter tribe’s dog bit a donkey belonging to the former.

The dispute was finally settled in a jirga held in Lanjoo Saghari village near the Sindh-Balochistan border.

The feud has so far claimed the lives of 11 Qalandaris and two Chakranis, including a woman.

“Marrying off under-age girls to settle tribal disputes or crimes like murder or adultery is a common practice among the tribes of Sindh and Balochistan,” Dawn reported Sunday.

Some years ago, the Sukkur circuit bench of the Sindh High Court had declared the holding of such jirgas illegal on a public suit filed by a lawyer-cum-human rights activist.

Iftikhar Mohammad Chaudhry, then the chief justice of Pakistan, had also taken note of a jirga that had ordered a tribe to give three under-aged girls in marriage to settle a dispute.

“The chief justice’s timely intervention had saved the girls from being sacrificed at the altar of tribal customs,” Dawn noted.

Pakistani President Pervez Musharraf sacked Chaudhry and other judges of the Supreme Court and the High Court after declaring an emergency last November.

Their restoration has now become the bone of contention between the Pakistan Peoples Party that leads the country’s ruling coalition and alliance partner Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz.

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