Pakistan SHOCKER: Man forces 12-year-old girl to marry 72-year-old man, cops intervene

Representative Image
Image Source : PTI Representative Image

Peshawar: In a shocking incident, a man in Pakistan’s Khyber Pakhtunkhwa province allegedly tried to force her 12-year-old daughter to marry a 72-year-old man in Charsadda town. The man, identified as Alam Syed, apparently agreed to sell his minor daughter to the senior citizen for a sum of 500,000 Pakistani rupees. 

Fortunately, police arrived just before the ‘nikkah’ and apprehended the groom identified as Habib Khan, and the ‘Nikah Khwan’ (a person who solemnizes the marriage). However, the girl’s father managed to escape the scene and a case has been registered against all three under the ‘Child Marriage Registration Act’, according to ARY News. The girl was rescued safely and was sent to a hospital for a medical examination

It is important to note that Pakistan has one of the highest rates of child marriage, where the legal age for girls is 16, and the country’s insufficient laws have failed to curb rising incidents. Law enforcement agencies thwarted similar attempts in Rajanpur (Punjab province) and Thatta (Sindh province), where young girls were being forced to marry older men.

An 11-year-old girl was set to marry a 40-year-old man in Rajanpur while another girl was forcibly married to a 50-year-old landlord. Both girls were rescued. On May 6, the police arrested a 70-year-old man for marrying a 13-year-old girl in Swat, Khyber Pakhtunkhwa. The girl’s father was also arrested.

According to the UNICEF, one in six women are married in childhood. A staggering 4.6 girls were married before the age of 15 and 18.9 million girls married before the age of 18. The impact of child marriage is usually associated with health and nutrition, fertility and population growth, child mortality, educational attainment, participation in the labour force, women’s agency and gender-based violence. 

Poverty plays a major role in these decisions. One of the major concerns of the people is the marriage of their children, mainly because the underprivileged families seldom send their children to schools, a new report states. The boys start working from a very young age, while girls are trained for household work and married quickly in these poor families.

Besides poverty, child marriages in Pakistan are culture, tribal traditions and exchange marriage. For instance, in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa and Gilgit Baltistan especially, the issue has deep roots of ‘culture’, ‘norm’ and ‘tradition’. Activists have urged the government to take major steps to tackle the issue, and enforce harsh punishments to deter people from marrying children.

(with ANI inputs)