PESHAWAR, March 7: The Peshawar High Court on Monday granted bail to 13 persons including a prayer leader and some members of a jirga charged in a case of giving two sisters to the rival family under the custom of swara 17 years ago.

A single bench comprising Justice Shahjehan Khan Yousafzai allowed two writ petitions filed by the accused-persons directing them to furnish two sureties of Rs100,000 each.

The accused-petitioners were charged in an FIR registered under section 310-a of Pakistan penal Code at Chingalai police station in Buner District few weeks ago. The FIR was registered on the directives of the high court after the two girls filed a writ petition requesting the court to take action against the responsible persons.

The court had on Jan 12, 2011, disposed of the writ petition filed by the two females, Basmeena and Ghasiba, and had declared the decision of the jirga as illegal and unconstitutional. The court had directed the police to take action against the responsible persons and also to include the sections of the Child Protection and Welfare Act in the FIR of the case.

The two females had claimed that 17 years ago a kidnapping dispute was resolved with the condition that both of them should be handed over in swara to the rival group. It was decided that upon attaining maturity the petitioners would be married to two boys of the rival family.

On Monday, advocate Jawed A. Khan appeared for the accused-petitioners and contended that the occurrence took place on April 12, 1996. He added that at that time such customs were rampant in that area.

The two females along with their brother, Bukhtzada, appeared before the court. They stated that they had no objection over the release on bail of the accused-persons. Bukhtzada stated that one of his sisters got married whereas the other one had already been engaged.

The concerned SHO, Bukht Zamin, also stated before the court that in accordance with the orders of the high court they had deployed policemen at the residence of the two females. He asked the court whether they should continue the security cover to the family as one of the females had got married and the second one was engaged?

The court directed him to approach the concerned district coordination officer in that regard.

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