MINGORA, Pakistan - Police on Sunday arrested 10 members of a jirga for giving a 10-year-old girl in swara to resolve a family dispute at Kargaey Dherai area of Madyan.
The area police said they raided a jirga late on Saturday which was resolving a dispute between the two families by giving a little girl in swara, which refers to the practice of forcibly marrying off young girls to members of different clans.
“Muzamil Shah had an illicit affair with Noreena, daughter of Ajab Khan who was already engaged and was going to marry next week. The affair triggered tension between the two families and a jirga was convened at the residence of Muzamil to resolve the dispute. Zabiha, 10, daughter of Muzamil was given in swara to Ajab Khan to settle the score,” Mohammad Ali, the SHO of Madyan police station, said.
He added eight members of the jirga, including the nikah khwan, were arrested while raids were being conducted to arrest the three more persons involved in the case.
Condemning the marriages of innocent girls forcibly to resolve conflicts between rival families and groups, Tabassum Adnan, the chairperson of a girls’ welfare body, said swara cases were on the increase in rural areas of Swat.
“The custom of swara is rampant in the mountainous areas as people lack awareness about the laws against the menace,” she said, adding the government should launch awareness campaigns and the police to ensure implementing of the relevant laws.
Humaira Shaukat, a lawyer, said under section 310-A of the PPC swara was an offence. “It is a penal offence in which the violators shall be punished from three to ten years of imprisonment,” she told Dawn.
Under the law, the police are empowered to arrest the guilty persons without warrants.