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Fearing persecution Afghan couple flee to Pakistan

Published Jul 22, 2012 10:13am


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Afghan women clad in burqa walk up a hill at the old part of Kabul. Progress has been made on women's rights since the fall of the Taliban in Afghanistan, but many fear those gains are under threat as Nato troops leave and Kabul seeks peace with insurgents.— Reuters (File Photo)

PESHAWAR: An Afghan couple who fled the war-torn country to marry in Pakistan are being held in protective custody amid fears the bride's angry relatives will kill them, officials said on Sunday.

Hewad, 22, who is known by only one name, wed 18-year-old Mariyam Marjman in the town of Abbottabad, around 50 kilometres north of Islamabad, last month after escaping Kabul with the help of a Pakistani friend.

Marjman told officials a jirga or assembly of her relatives had travelled to Abbottabad with the aim of taking her back to Afghanistan, where she would probably be murdered for marrying a person of her own choice.

“Mariyam declared that Hewad is her husband and both of them were in love before they got married,” senior local administration official Imtiaz Shah said, adding that the bride's parents wanted her to marry her dead elder sister's husband.

He said that the couple had brought the two-year-old daughter of Marjman's dead sister with them to Pakistan.

Top local administration official Khan Omarzai told AFP that arrangements have been made to produce both Hewad and Marjman at the high court in Peshawar on Monday.

“The couple is being provided full protection as per court's order,” he added.

Marjman was moved to an orphanage with the two-year-old while Hewad was moved to a prison in the northwestern city of Mansehra with officials in Abbottabad saying “this has been done to provide them full protection”.

“We will accept and implement whatever is the court's decision tomorrow,” Shah said.

“If the court orders us to give custody of the couple to the jirga, we will do that and if the court decides to keep the custody of the couple, we will implement that verdict too.”

Progress has been made on women's rights since the fall of the Taliban in Afghanistan, but many fear those gains are under threat as Nato troops leave and Kabul seeks peace with insurgents.

Earlier this month a video emerged of the public execution of a woman accused of adultery in Afghanistan, who was gunned down as dozens of men cheered.


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Comments (18) Closed

H ali Jul 22, 2012 11:48am
Out of frying pan into fire....
Saad Jul 22, 2012 11:16am
Gooddeedsleadto Jul 22, 2012 05:52pm
Taliban ihas no right to impose punishments only, unless they are providing welfare to the masses, which they are not. Zakaat, consensus, security, business friendly environment and justice is their responsibility before the right to punish people.
Jimmy Butt Jul 22, 2012 11:33am
It makes me very proud to be a Pakistani. Pakistan is able to offer santuary to people who are in genuine fear of their lives. Lets hope the couple can get on with their new beginning in Pakistan and they are not handed over to Jirga. And good on the couple for standing up to dire oppression. You have my blessings!
AHA Jul 22, 2012 12:03pm
My thoughts as well. Pakistan has a very bad record when it comes to the protection of our own women and other weaker segments of the society.
Umer S Jul 22, 2012 11:16am
I pray for their safety but in my opinion a foreign embassy or NGO within Afghanistan would have been a better choice. Pakistan herself does not have a good track record in such cases. This is like the old saying "fallen from the sky...stuck in date palm tree!!"
Bilal khan Jul 22, 2012 11:20am
Ali I agree but it's not the time to talk about it. These young folks flee their country in hope of finding shelter. It's true the Taliban or family would have killed the girl in honor killing. While Pakistan has embarrassed millions of afghanis. Giving asylum to these kids won't change the demographics.
Javaid Jul 22, 2012 03:54pm
She has to give the 2 year old back to her sister's husband. I don't think she is the legal guardian. Secondly, I don't want to sound arrogant and cruel, but if we keep them in Pakistan, than we will create a precedence for other Afghan "Love" couples to cross the border into our country. Our Courts, Administrators, NGOs, Orphanages, Prisons should be dealing with our own major problems, not dealing with people, who have ran away from their arranged marriage customs. Perhaps another more developed country with less problems, can take them far away and decide their case.
Hassan Jul 22, 2012 11:56am
That's such a selfish attitude! I am sure Pakistan is big enough and has enough resources to support a poor couple fleeing from persecution. Please don't give us Pakistanis a bad name- even if we have scarce food we will share it with our guests.
Hamid Abbasi Jul 22, 2012 01:09pm
I am a Muslim first then Pakistani,I will lay my life to save and protect WHOSOEVER seeks shelter in my house. Hamid Abbasi
Ali S Jul 22, 2012 10:49am
I genuinely hope they're both safe and sound, but how many more Afghan refugees can Pakistan take in? About time they did something to make their own country better for themselves, we have enough problems as it is - and Afghans are responsible for many of them
Salman Jul 22, 2012 01:05pm
Its rational to say that Pakistan can;t afford any refugees as it can barely support its own needs.Therefore our interest comes first before any others!
A Pakistani Jul 22, 2012 03:04pm
i wish them well - wherever they live. I just hope they continue to live a happy life.
T.K. Jul 22, 2012 01:19pm
The Pakistani courts or government should never allow this couple to be taken back to Afghanistan because as everyone knows, they will undoubtedly be killed and that would make both the Pakistani and Afghanistani authorities criminals for facilitating such a crime. Please leave the politicking out of this since it is a humanitarian issue rather than a political one. This couple should either be given a safe abode somewhere within Pakistan or be allowed to travel to a country that would allow them safe residence.
RizwanAgha Jul 22, 2012 09:07pm
All Jirgas should be shot at sight as they are scum and their practices are mostly unislamic which gives 1.5 billion followers of Islam a bad name. Some of us are useful idiots which west takes advantage of.
allaisa Jul 22, 2012 11:08pm
I am sure the High Court will do the 'right' thing and will hand over the couple to the Afghan Jirga to be taken back to Afghanistan and stoned to death. How dare they fall in love against all canons of decency and family honor?
Faisal Jul 22, 2012 11:53pm
man I am sick of these afghans coming to Pakistan send them back these afghanistan. Support Pathans not afghans please
bob Jul 31, 2012 03:13am
In the old days every invading army was helped by the persians and afghans - they even helped the mughals until the relationship went sour. When is the Pakistan government going to be from the indigenous population and not of persian or Afghan extract. I met an Afghan and he blamed everything on Pakistan - he said it was his duty to do the same to Pakistan -UNBELIEVABLE