ISLAMABAD: The Supreme Court on Tuesday took a suo motu notice of a jirga’s decision in Balochistan province’s Dera Bugti district to give away 13 girls in marriage to settle a dispute, DawnNews reported.
Taking the notice, the court summoned MPA Mir Tariq Masuri, who allegedly chaired the jirga, and the 13 girls, who were said to have been declared Wani, to appear before it on Wednesday.
Dera Bugti deputy commissioner, Syed Faisal, told the court today that a tribal council had ordered the barter in early September.
He said he did not know their ages but local media said the girls were aged between four and 13.
However, Advocate General Balochistan Amanullah Kanrani could not confirm the incident.
According to reports, the jirga presided over by Masuri, a member of the Balochistan Assembly, and held during the second week of last month in Dera Bugti district’s Bakar area made the decision to resolve a dispute between two tribal groups.
Apart from deciding to give the 13 girls away in marriage, the jirga also allegedly imposed a fine of Rs3 million.
The issue revolved around one Roshan Khan alias Pilia Masuri Bugti who had murdered Mira Khan, brother of one Karam Khan Shahani.
Speaking to Dawn earlier, MPA Masuri had claimed that neither had he chaired any jirga nor was it in his knowledge that a jirga meeting was held in Bakar.
He had further stated that he was outside the district for the last three weeks and during that period he had attended sessions of the provincial assembly in Quetta from Sept 18 to 27.
Wani is the custom of giving females in marriage by an offending party to the males of the victim party as consideration of compromising offences. The tradition had been existed for centuries in the Khyber Pakhtunkhwa province, in Balochistan and in some parts of Sindh under different names.
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’, wanni, 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.”