Sukkur (Pakistan), May 31 : In an astonishing and inhuman case that has come to light in Pakistan's tribal areas, as many as 15 young girls aged between 3 and 10 were married off in a bid to settle an eight-year-long feud between two tribes wherein a dog belonging to the Qalandari tribe had bitten a donkey of the Chakrani tribe.
The tribal feud has so far claimed the lives of 11 Qalandaris and two Chakranis, including a woman.
The girls were married off after a decision of a local jirga on Wednesday. Following the decision, the Chakrani tribe pledged to "marry off" their girls to settle the feud with the Qalandari tribe, reported the Dawn.
The jirga decided to implement a decision announced by Nawab Akbar Khan Bugti in 2002, according to which the Chakrani tribe will pay a fine of Rs 40 lakhs while the Qalandaris will pay Rs 12 lakh to the other and marry off a girl every month irrespective of the ages of their "fiances".
Marrying off under-age girls to settle tribal disputes or crimes like murder or adultery is a common practice among tribes of Sindh and Balochistan.
A few years ago, the Sukkur circuit bench of the Sindh High Court had declared the holding of a jirga illegal on a public interest petition filed by lawyer-cum-human rights activist Ghulam Shabbir Shar. The then chief justice Iftikhar Mohammad Chaudhry had taken suo motu notice of such a jirga presided over by PPP leader Mir Hazar Khan Bijarani.
The jirga had ordered a tribe to give three under-age girls in marriage to their rivals to settle a dispute. The chief justice's timely intervention had saved the girls from being sacrificed at the altar of tribal customs.