Experts lament girls still pawns in feuds

Sanila, 8, a girl given in swara in the Madyan area of Pakistan’s Swat valley. UPI Next/Fazal Khaliq.

MINGORA, Dec 19,2013 (Fazal Khaliq / UPI Next) — Pakistani laws banning a centuries-old custom of giving girls away to settle a feud are still being ignored, leaving rural girls vulnerable to being handed over for life to their families’ rivals, activists and legal experts say.

“It is extremely difficult to give an exact number as these cases are hardly reported,” research anthropologist Simar Minallah, who has been lobbying for eradication of the practice, told UPI Next.

“However, in 2011 and 2012, around 200 cases were reported from different parts of Pakistan.”

The custom — known as “swara” in northwestern Pakistan, and as “vani,” “sang chatty” and “ijaai” in other parts of the country — effectively consigns the girls to lives of suffering at the hands of the family to which they are handed, Minallah said

Read more Activists, legal experts lament Pakistani girls still pawns in inter-family feuds –


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