Rawalpindi - Local police produced four accused before a court of law yesterday along with a minor girl who was handed over as vani to the rival party. The court sent the accused to Adiala Jail on judicial remand for 14 days and ordered police to send the girl to Darul Aman till next date of hearing.

Police had arrested four persons including a cleric during a raid at a house in Zia Colony for handing over an eight-year old girl (RB) as vani to the rival party to settle a feud. The four accused were identified as Sher Gull (groom), Jalal Khan (brother of girl), Feroz (witness) and cleric Muhammad Khan. According to details, a police team of Pirwadhai produced the four accused along with the minor girl before Area Magistrate Wasim Sajjad Arain and sought physical remand of the accused. However, the judge rejected the remand plea of police and sent the four accused to Adiala Jail for 14 days on judicial remand. The court also ordered police to send the minor girl to Darul Aman till the next date of hearing.

Talking to The Nation, station house officer of police station Pirwadhai, Chaudhry Riaz said that an accused namely Bilal was still at large and police were conducting raids to arrest him. Sharing further details, Riaz said that a young man Jalal Khan of Swabi developed relations with the daughter (ZB) of Sher Gul, who was residing at Zia Colony, Pirwadhai. He added that later the daughter of Sher Gul eloped with Jalal and they married against the will of their families. This caused clash between the two families, the SHO said adding that the elders of family convened a jirga to settle the issue. The jirga members decided to marry off the 8-year-old (RB), the sister of Jalal, to ZB’s father Sher Gul, who fathered nine children.

All the family members gathered at house of Sher Gul and cleric Muhammad Khan of Gausia Mosque solemnised the marriage of the minor girl. On information provided by locals, a police team raided the house and arrested the four accused. Vani is a cultural custom still prevalent in conservative pockets across Pakistan wherein young girls are forcibly married as part of punishment for a crime committed by her male relatives. Vani is a form of arranged child marriage. The custom is illegal in the country; however, the practice continues.