PAN, November 11, 2013

Father barters 5-year-old daughter for land

Mamnoon claimed the girl’s father was a drug addict, who recently sold his seven years old daughter to another man

By Muhammad Jan Tamkin

A man has bartered his five years old daughter to a boy in return for 1.5-acre of land in northern Jawzjan province, fuelling concerns among rights campaigners.

Maghfirat Samimi, the Afghanistan Independent Human Rights Commission (AIHRC) chief for Jawzjan, Faryab and Sar-i-Pul provinces, identified the minor girl as Asma -- a resident of Darzab district.

She told Pajhwok Afghan News the girl was presently living with her family near the Shiberghan airport. The boy’s family had initially agreed to marry her on reaching puberty.

But now they are adamant on her marriage, according to Samimi, who vehemently denounced the so-called non-age wedding.

She quoted the girl’s parents as opposing their daughter’s sale and seeking help from human rights advocates. In an attempt to wriggle out of the vexing situation, they are ready to return the piece of land.

The AIHRC official said that an application from Asma’s mother for a settlement of the issue had been referred to the police headquarter.

Col. Abdul Malik Mamnoon, the Jawzjan crime branch chief, confirmed the girl’s plea had been under consideration and the problem would be addressed over the next few days. Both parties have been summoned as part of the ongoing investigation.

Mamnoon claimed the girl’s father was a drug addict, who recently sold his seven years old daughter to another man. The girl’s relationship with her in-laws had been tense, he added.

A jovial Asma, blissfully ignorant of the meaning of a marriage contract, said: “I don’t know anything in this regard and want my father to enroll me in school.” She wants to be a doctor or teacher before tying the knot.

Surrounded by three children and her eyes welling up, the girl’s mother acknowledged her spouse had sold another seven years old daughter to a 25 years old man.

Mistreated and beaten, the girl has now left her father-in-law’s house and is living with her parents. She informed her parents of the harrowing circumstances she was living in. He father Ramazan said economic constraints had forced him into selling his daughter.

Meanwhile, a religious scholar condemned the act as un-Islamic. Maulvi Muhammad Osman said Islam has specified a girl’s marriageable age. A person deviating from Islamic teachings would face Allah’s wrath, he said.

The AIHRC official warned cases of child abuse and other unwholesome social customs, if not checked, would rise dramatically. Samimi recalled 86 accident of violence against women and girls were recorded in Jawzjan last year.

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