MANSEHRA: A local jirga in Shamali area of Battagram has decided to marry off an eight-year-old girl to a 26-year-old man to settle a dispute between two families.

Local sources said that the jirga was held last week to settle a dispute, which was result of the second marriage of the father of the minor girl. They said that father of the minor girl eloped with a married woman few years ago.

The custom of handing over women to rival party for settling a dispute is called vani in the area. The practice is still common in remote parts of upper Hazara.

“We have registered an FIR against a cleric, who solemnised the marriage of Farnaz Bibi with Sadiq Shah, and 12 other people including family members of both the bride and bridegroom,” said Jehanzeb Khan,” the district police officer of Battagram, on Sunday.

He said that Meherban Shah, the father of victim girl, contracted second marriage with the wife of Sadiq Shah some three years ago and fled the area.

The official said that local elders convened a jirga to settle the feud in accordance with the local tradition last week. The jirga issued a decree to hand over the minor daughter of Meherban Shah to the former husband of his second wife, he said, adding the knot was tied in the same jirga.

The official said that Syed Mehboob Shah, the maternal uncle of the victim girl, approached police to register an FIR on Saturday.

He said that FIR was registered against 13 people including Maulvi Ghufran Shah, Sadiq Shah, Nanga Shah, Mudasser Shah, Syed Ali Shah, Mehtab Shah, Akbar Shah, Zubair Khan, Younas Shah, Yousaf Shah, Bashir Shah and Meherban Shah.

Mohammad Rafique, the SHO of Shamlai police station, told journalists that raids were being conducted to arrest the people, nominated in the FIR.

Mr Rafique said that though nikah of the minor girl was performed in the jirga yet the wedding ceremony was scheduled to be held after some time.

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