Condemn the Act of Holding a Jirga and Bartering of Underage Girls in Thul, Sindh

Posted: January 14, 2014 in News and Views

Despite a ban on holding a Jirga in Sindh, they are still being held and decisions are also being made and announced.  If there are hurdles in the way of implementation of Jirga decisions, it is reported that State machinery assists Jirga leaders, to remove these hurdles.

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One such case is reported from Thul, Jacobabad where a Jirga was hled in village Gul Sher Kandrani situated in Garhi Hassan Sarki’s police jurisdiction on Sunday which was presided by Jirga leader Jahangir Banglani. The Jirga imposed a fine of Rs. 1.2 million on a alleged Karo (accused of having illicit relations with a woman) and ordered him to give his two daughters – 5-year-old Rubal and 15-year-old Zarnaz – to the sons of Abdul Samad Banglani in marriage. Since Sanaullah, who moved to Balouchistan in order to save his life after being declared Karo six months ago, had only returned to the village a couple of days back for this Jirga was being represented by his son in the Jirga. His son Abdul Rasool Banglani, refused to accept the verdict of the Jirga and left the scene. This attitude antagonized the Jirga leader, who raided Sanaullah’s house with his men and kidnapped Sanaullah’s wife and daughter.

RightsNow Pakistan has received reports from the fields that this Karo Kari issue is actually a manifestation, the real cause is an old election dispute between the Sardar who wanted to punish the father of two girls for voting his opponent in the recent General elections. A police man who murdered two his wives has taken ‘Karo Kari’ as a defence plea and want to save himself from punishment.

We feel sorry on the statement of SSP Jacobabad, Malik Zafar Iqbal has confirmed the happening of Jirga as well as its faisla (verdict) but denying the raid by the Jahangir on the house of Sanaullah Banglani and kidnapping of two of his daughters.

RightsNow Pakistan appreciates DIG Police Larkana Khadim Rind’s prompt action in this situation and suspended the SHO of the area for not preventing this human rights violation/crime in his jurisdiction.

Question arises when holding a Jirga is banned, and bartering women is crime then how did it took place? In Pakistan, the practice of settling disputes between tribes and families by using women as peace tokens is prohibited, it is being taken place, under the patronage of police.  The practice, known as Sawra, is banned because in such cases, the barter bride suffers whole life in the forced marriage. Forced marriage itself is an offence and prohibited in law.

Bartering of women or underage girls happens when someone is killed in a blood feud between tribes, the guilty party can make amends by giving his sister or daughter to the victim’s family. The “peace token” is forcibly married to one of the victim’s male relatives and usually will be treated as an object of recrimination and bitterness by her new family, which will work her like a slave.

This is also form of slavery which is not only prohibited by Pakistani law but also international law.

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Updates: Assurance by DIG for stern action.

We also appreciate the investigation ordered by the DIG Police in this regard and assurance of the action.However, we are not happy with the statement of the police that “a case will be registered against the accused if the allegation of bartering girls is proved against him. This is completely illegally. The Highest Court of Pakistan has already ordered (PLD 2007 Supreme Court 539) that under section 154 Cr.P.C FIR should be registered and then inquiry should be held into the matter. Inquiry before the FIR is illegal. We fear that if this inquiry says this incident has not happened then that will be injustice and no case will be filed. We demand the registration of the case first and then its investigation by an honest police officer.

We also call for the protection of two girls, their father and other family members who have witnessed the incident and now must be facing threats from the influential sardars and Jirga leaders.

We call for a prompt action and inquiry into the matter that when there is ban on holding a Jirga and bartering  women/underage girls are an offence/crime then why this Jirga took place and how did the decision of bartering of underage girls/women was made and implemented.It shows the weak writ of the state and law enforcement agencies.

Updates:

Reported to Asian Human Rights Commission

Special Rapporteur on violence against women, its causes and consequences

Hotline Asia

PLD 2007 Supreme Court 539

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