Islamabad, Oct 14 (IANS) A jirga or tribal assembly in Pakistan has married off two minor girls under a local custom to settle a dispute between two families, sparking protests in the country, a media report said.
A large number of people launched a protest against the decision in Sukkur city of Sindh province, Dawn News reported.
A local wadera or chieftain, Peeral Chachar, presided over the jirga and gave away the girls as "wani" to settle a matrimonial dispute.
A man, Shah Mohammad Chachar, maried a woman named Hayatan, both residents of Gaji Chachar village of Pano Akil region, against the will of their parents a few months back.
The marriage caused a dispute among the two families, and the girl's family called for the jirga.
The chieftain imposed a fine of Rs.400,000 and ordered the handing over of a 10-year-old girl, Allah Diwai, and six-year-old Sassui, daughters of Allah Dino Chachar.
Both the girls are nieces of Shah Mohammad and were ordered to marry brothers of Hayatan.
The chieftain "forcibly" solemnised the nikah or wedding of Allah Diwai with 10-year-old Shaman, a brother of Hayatan, the report said.
The girl is required to leave her parents' home after four years, when she turns 14.
The chieftain also declared that the nikah of Sassui would take place when she attains the age of 10.
However, the father of the two girls protested against the verdict, and said he was ready to pay a fine as penalty, but would never give away his daughters.
Relatives of the girls' family Saturday gathered outside the local press club and protested against the exchange of the minor girls.
They called upon the police to provide them protection and cancel the verdict.
The report said holding of a jirga and exchanging women and marriage of minor girls are illegal under the law of the land, but the authorities have failed to control such acts.