QUETTA: The Supreme Court on Wednesday began hearing the suo motu notice of a jirga which was reportedly held in Dera Bugti district’s Bakar area and had decided that 13 girls be married under the custom of ‘wani’ to resolve a feud between two groups of the Masuri tribe, DawnNews reported.
A three-judge bench comprising the chief justice, Justice Khilji Arif Hussain and Justice Jawwad S. Khawaja was hearing the case.
During the hearing, MPA Mir Tariq Masuri, who allegedly chaired the jirga, told the court that that was not the case, adding that, he was in Multan at the time. However, according to his earlier statement the MPA was attending the Balochistan Assembly session in Quetta at the time of the jirga.
Masuri moreover said that the jirga had taken place in the province’s Barkhan district which was 90 kilometres away from Dera Bugti.
Moreover, Dera Bugti deputy commissioner, Syed Faisal, told the bench that two helicopters had been sent to Dera Bugti to transport the girls.
In his remarks, Justice Khilji said that "something had happened, which was why the news of the incident had surfaced".
Earlier on Tuesday, the chief justice had asked the Dera Bugti deputy commissioner to brief him about the Bakar jirga and about action taken in the case.
The deputy commissioner had said at the time that he had learnt about the incident as late as on Monday and that the jirga had not been held in Bakar, but in the Barkhan district. According to him, seven girls had been made wani.
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.”