Culture is an amalgamation of norms, values, and practices that collectively represent the mindset of the local population. However, the prevalence of customs like Vani, Ghag, and honor killing in Pakistan shows how women are treated as an agency of men and where our collective values stand on the subject.
It is unfortunate and painful that when the rest of the world is speaking about narrowing the wage gap and breaking the glass ceiling, our daughters are still falling prey to the obscenity of Vani.
Vani or Swara is a cultural practice prevalent in rural areas of Sindh, Punjab and Khyber Pakhtunkhwa even in the 21st century. Vani, derived from Pushto word ‘Vanay’, means blood. Local jirgas usually use it to resolve disputes between two enemy groups.
Vani is practiced to settle the disputes of murder, fornication or adultery, or settling debts, or for compensation of abduction or kidnapping. Following this practice, minor girls belonging to the accused’s family are given in the marriage to a man of the opposite group, with a mandatory term that they will never get to see their family again.
Murder accused forced to offer his two minor girls in Larkana:
A jirga or tribal elders’ council in Larkana ordered a murder accused to offer his two of minor daughters under the ‘Vani’ tradition (forced child marriage) and pay a fine of Rs6 million to settle a dispute. According to the SSP of Qambar, Kamran Nawaz Panjotha, the council of Qambar Shahdadkot district was headed by Allah Warayo Chandio. Warayo is also the former deputy superintendent of police (DSP).
The jirgah, in their ruling to the murder accused, said that Ali Hasan Chandio of the Chandio tribe ordered him was to provide two of his daughters in marriage to the family of the deceased. Along with it, he was also supposed to pay Rs6 million to them.
Police, when received the information about the incident, registered FIR (first information report) and arrested the members of the tribal elders’ council after a raid. On the other hand, former DSP Allah Warayo Chandio denied being part of the council and claimed that he did not organize it. He further added that ever since he joined Chandio Tamandar Council, his ‘opponents are spreading baseless propaganda against him’.
The occurrence of the incident shows that Pakistan still lags far behind when it comes to women’s rights. We need to at least start somewhere. We need to, AT LEAST, reject these derogatory and out-dated customs!
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