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SAHIWAL: Police have registered two cases against 10 people for their involvement in a vani “marriage” of an underage girl allegedly held at 114/7-R village, Chichwatini, on the orders of a panchayat to settle rape of a woman.

According to Deputy Superintendent of Police (DSP) Amjad Javed kambho, four of the suspects, including the groom and nikah khwan, have been arrested by Chichawatni Saddar police.

It is third such incident in a span of a week in Punjab where a female has been used as a bargain chip to settle a dispute arising out of male mischief.

Earlier, on July 26 a 10-year-old girl was married off to a 17-year-old boy to avenge the court marriage of a couple in Darkhan locality of Karor tehsil, Layyah district.

Karor police had registered a case and arrested nikah khwan Hafiz Atique Usmani, witness Bilal Ahmed and a punchayat member Jehangir.

Similarly, on the same day, Multan police had claimed to have arrested 20 people after a 16-year-old girl was allegedly raped on the orders of a panchayat (village council) as punishment for an alleged rape committed by her brother. In the latest incident, police said that two weeks back Munir (37), a resident of the village appeared in a panchayat where he accused Rafique of raping his wife.

The accuser demanded that he should be allowed to marry Rafique’s 14-year-old daughter ‘K’ as “compensation” for his wife’s rape.

The panchayat gave the verdict in Munir’s favour and the minor girl was married to him.

However, this annoyed the girl’s brother Khizer Abbas who informed Chichwatni Sadar police about the panchayat’s decision and its outcome through an application.

The police raided the village and arrested four people -- Munir, his sister, nikah khwan and one of the panchayat elder who was also a witness to the nikah.

Police filed two FIRs (320/17 and 321/17) against 10 people under sections 376, 310A, 365B and 366A of the Pakistan Penal Code (PPC) on the complaint of Munir’s mother-in-law Pathani Bibi and the victim’s brother Khizer Abbas, respectively.

Police said it was the suspect’s third marriage as he had earlier divorced one of his wives, while the other was living with him.

Published in Dawn, July 30th, 2017