A 13-year-old girl will be married off to an old man to atone for her brother’s mistake, a jirga (tribal council of elders) decided on Friday. Her brother was charged with having an extra-marital relationship with a woman.
“They want me to get married to pay for my brother’s fault, but I don’t want to marry that man. I’d rather commit suicide than get married in this way,” she said, before bursting into tears.
Swara is a custom in the Pashtun belt where girls are forcibly married to men of rival families to settle feuds.
Sadia is not the only one upset about the jirga’s decision. Her second brother, Faheem*, said, “Our neighbours accused my elder brother of having illicit relations with a woman. He confessed and married her in court. But now her influential family and the jirga are bent on getting my sister married, which isn’t fair.”
He has sought the government’s assistance in the matter.
A representative of the jirga said that the family can either agree to the marriage or pay a compensation of Rs253, 000 (USD 2,673) to the aggrieved family. Otherwise they will imprison all of them.