The Washington Post reports on the vile practice of treating young girls like domestic cattle in the Punjab province of Pakistan, where many local people believe that their Islamic religion instructs fathers to marry off their daughters at puberty.
Now is it God's will at work, as Wazir Ahmed claims, or is this just another religious tradition that has no place in the modern, civilised world?
In a Pakistan family, deal is made, a girl is given as bride
Traded by her father, married at 14
14-year-old Saima was married off to her 36-year-old disabled husband in exchange for her father’s new wife. Stories like Saima’s are not uncommon in Pakistan's Punjab province. (Deirdra O'Regan/The Washington Post)
By Kathy Gannon - The Washington Post
JAMPUR, Pakistan — Mohammad Ramzan can neither hear nor speak, and he has a childlike mind. But he knew his wife, Saima, was too young when she was given to him as a bride.
The 36-year-old Ramzan smiles, eager to please, as he uses his fingers to count out her age when they married. One, two, three . . . until 13, and then he stops and looks at her, points and nods several times.
The girl’s father, Wazir Ahmed, says she was 14, not 13, but her age was beside the point. It mattered only that she had reached puberty when he arranged her marriage as an exchange: his daughter for Ramzan’s sister, whom he wanted to take as a second wife.
His first wife, Saima’s mother, had given him only daughters, and he hoped his second wife would give him a son. But Sabeel wouldn’t marry him until her brother had a wife to care for him.
She would be a bride in exchange for a bride.