SWABI: People here put pressure and thwarted an alleged attempt by a poverty-stricken man here to sell his two teenage daughters to aged persons from Jhelum district through local brokers for Rs350,000.

When contacted, district police officer Imran Shahid said that they arrested father of the girls on Saturday whose ages were 11 and 12 years and a case had been registered against him in Kalu Khan police station.

The man, identified as Hidayatullah, belongs to Shewa village, Razaar tehsil, but is presently residing in a mud house in Sikandari village.

Interaction with the local people revealed that a few days ago three people accompanied by local brokers visited his house and talked with him about giving his daughters to two persons from Jhelum, Punjab.

The brokers had finalised the arrangements under which Rs300,000 was expected to be paid to father of the girls and Rs50,000 to both of them. As the brokers were negotiating the deal some residents knew about the matter who informed other people and the news spread in the district, sources said.

Police register case after arrest

The people warned Mr Hidayatullah that if he went ahead with the alleged deal he would face serious consequences.

In one of the recorded videos a man warned him that he must abandon the intention to sell his daughters. In the same video, Mr Hidayatullah said he had spent Rs20,000 borrowed money on the death of his mother, which was to be urgently paid. The man told him that the amount would be arranged.

When mediapersons approached Mr Hidayatullah, he admitted that a few persons had visited his residence for the purpose. He claimed that the people who visited his residence had also met with other people in the area for such a deal as well.

“They reached our residence in the evening, but I was not ready to meet their demand,” he said, adding that he would not have handed over his daughters to them even if they had offered Rs5 million to him.

Mr Hidayatullah alleged that the people spread the rumours about selling his daughters in order to defame him.

Answering a question, he said he was in bed for about eight years and then about four years ago he started walking, but he was not in a position to work to earn livelihood for his family.

When asked, his 12-year-old daughter said the people who visited their residence had also met with other people in the area, but she was not in a position to unveil their names.

“They wanted to take me, but my father refused to make any such deal,” she said in a frightened voice.

Published in Dawn, August 16th, 2020