It is good news that authorities are taking action on this case, but one must wonder how many more will go unprosecuted as rural Pakistanis follow the example set by Aisha’s betrothal to Muhammad at the age of 6, and marriage at the age of 9. “4-yr-old Pakistani girl marries 45-yr-old,” from AFP:
DERA ISMAIL KHAN, Pakistan – A four-year old girl was married to a 45-year-old man in a remote Pakistan town to settle a feud, leading to the arrest of 12 people from two families, police said Friday.
The bizarre marriage took place last month on the orders of a Punchayat or tribal council in northwestern Dera Ismail Khan town but police acted only last week after rights activist raised the alarm.
Police said they had taken into custody the accused from both the families involved in the affair as well as members of the punchayat and registered a case for violating law banning child marriage.
The minor, Sumaira, was given in marriage to the middle-aged man, Mahboob Ahmed, as a punishment because the girl’s maternal uncle, Mohammad Farooq, had eloped with the adult niece of the bridegroom, police said.
The punchayat imposed a fine of 150,000 rupees (2,500 dollars) on Farooq and ordered him to give a young girl from his family to Mahboob, police spokesman Malik Ramazan told AFP.
“In order to meet demand of the punchayat, Farooq’s brother-in-law gave his four-year-old daughter in the marriage of Mahboob,” Ramazan said.
The government of President Pervez Musharraf has moved recently to legislate tough measures to end oppressive customs, especially forced marriages and giving minor girls to resolve disputes in the rural areas.