MANSEHRA, Oct 4: Police have arrested six persons, including a cleric and jirga members, for handing over a minor girl as vani to the rival party of her family to settle a feud in Battal area of the district.

“We have lodged FIR against nine persons and arrested six of them. The accused first held a jirga to settle a feud and then handed over a minor girl to the rival party as vani,” District Police Officer Sher Akbar Khan told journalists here on Thursday.

Sources said that a girl, who was engaged with one of the sons of Karimdad, left her home and married another man of her free will.

They said that Karimdad and his family members convened a jirga to settle the issue. The jirga members decided to marry off a seven-year-old sister of the girl to Mohammad Khan, 10, another son of Karimdad, as vani.

According to police nikah of the minor girl was solemnised by Maulana Aziz Khan.

Battal police took action on a tip-off and arrested Maulana Aziz Khan, Sawal Faqir, father of the victim girl, Karimdad and jirga members identified as Khaliqdad, Mohammad Zafar and Hakim Khan.

The DPO said that raids were being conducted to arrest the remaining three jirga members, who were still at large. He said that an amount of Rs80,000, according to preliminary investigation, was fixed as dowry of the minor girl by the jirga.

The accused were produced before a local court along with the minor girl. The court sent the accused to jail on judicial remand and handed over the girl to her family.

Talking to journalists, Maulana Aziz claimed that he didn’t solemnise the nikah. He said that he was asked by the people, gathered during the jirga, to solemnise the nikah but he refused to do so.

“When the jirga members asked me to solemnise the nikah of a minor couple, I refused to do so and told them that Islam doesn’t allow marriage of such a small child,” he claimed.—Correspondent

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