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Child bride seeks bust-up with 50 years old

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BAMYAN CITY, June 11 (Pajhwok Afghan News): Led down the garden path by crafty in-laws, a preteen has been dragooned into marrying a 50-year-old man in Afghanistan’s northern Bamyan province, where primitive customs have long been the bane of women’s lives.

Going by only one name like most of her compatriots, Wazir was waiting for the big moment in her life – to tie the knot with 9th class student Muhammad. Instead she ended up getting hitched to a dude closer to her fathers age in a windswept village of Waras district.

Forcibly solemnised this last winter, the nuptials have expectedly been on the rocks right from the world go. A fortnight back, the girls relatives went to a district court in quest of a split-up. Much to their dismay, no relief is forthcoming any time soon.

Neighbouring women, seeking my betrothal to a boy in their family, hoodwinked me into marrying an old widower with three children, sobbed Wazir, firmly averse to what she called an unnatural union.

For months at a stretch, the child bride was coerced into silence by her in-laws, who warned her she might be killed by brothers if she fled her hubby – no matter how old and frail.

Wazir was thrashed and made to stand in biting cold outside the entrance to her home almost every night when she spoke her mind on the ill-starred wedding. In order to keep my bare feet from freezing cold, I would doff my shirt to stand on and beseech my spouse after a while to let me in.

In a chat with Pajhwok Afghan News, she averred: At that point in time, I didnt even understand what marriage meant. Abdul called a cleric from another village to formalise our wedding. The elderly man would often subject me to naked threats and virtual aggression.

Unfamiliar with such spousal intricacies as dowry, she was all at sea what the other half would have to give her in case she walks out of the relationship. Little bothered about the post-divorce subsistence allowance, the shell-shocked Wazir is intent upon parting ways with her partner.

Before the thinkable mismatch, the girls elder brother Muhammad Raza recalled, their ailing mother had been to Kabul for medical treatment. Wazir strolled into nearby farms to bring fodder for her cattle.

In the fields, according to her brother, three neighbouring women instigated his unsuspecting sister to get spliced with the school student and thereby put an end to dependence on her sister-in-law.

Raza charged the women sweet-talked Wazir into accompanying them to their house. The flighty ladies would remind Wazir that she had crossed the Rubicon by entering their residence.

If Wazir was unhappy to wed Muhammad, the housewives cautioned, authorities would transfer her back in parental custody on the plea that the boy was nonage. And in such an eventuality, she would run the risk of being stoned to death by her brothers.

I went straight to the neighbours house. At the doorstep, I was asked why Im walking in. I have come to take back my sister was my reply. But they turned me away, saying Wazir was not abducted, Raza maintained.

At once the girl made up her mind to go with her brother as soon as she heard his voice. But a weeping sister-in-law clung to my apron to prevent me leaving home; she convinced me by warning my brother would kill me if go with him, said the bride in trouble.

As Raza returned empty-handed, he pleaded with his younger brother to bring back his sister. But he too was frustrated by Wazirs in-laws. Consequently, the brothers complained to district administration officials. A team comprising government functionaries and tribal elders was tasked with probing the case.

Recoding a statement before the delegation, Wazir recounted her wrenching plight including threats hurled at her by in-laws. Despite her troubles, the unfortunate youngster was too scared to rejoin her parents.

For a settlement of the dispute, the government-appointed delegation ordered Abdul to make a solatium payment to Wazirs family. The old man slighted us by offering a donkey priced at 15,000 afghanis, a cow and four goats, explained Raza.

Unsatisfied with the delegations decision, Wazirs mother paid several visits to Abduls house and asked him why her daughter was kidnapped. The woebegone lady was abused and jostled, nonetheless.

Later, the aggrieved family filed with the provincial police headquarters an application for the redress of their grumble. As a result, the forlorn couple was clapped into prison some days back.

With the district courts having no judge at present, the matrimonial dispute is likely to linger on for months. Uncertain about her future, Wazir wants to have her marriage dissolved at the earliest possible.

Human rights activist Muhammad Zahir Nazari characterised the case as extremely shocking. He said the inhuman treatment meted out to Wazir was worth condemning from a human rights perspective.

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Written by afghandevnews

June 14, 2007 at 4:16 am

Posted in Women's Rights

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