SC takes suo motu notice of Dera Bugti Vani incident


The Supreme Court (SC) took a suo motu notice of a jirga’s decision in Balochistan province’s Dera Bugti district to give away 13 girls in marriage to settle a dispute. During hearing of the Balochistan law and order case on Tuesday, the court summoned MPA Mir Tariq Masuri, who allegedly presided over the jirga, and the 13 girls, who were said to have been declared ‘Vani’. The jirga, held during the second week of September in Dera Bugti district’s Bakar area, made the decision to resolve a dispute between two tribal groups. Apart from deciding to give the 13 girls away in marriage, the jirga also allegedly imposed a fine of Rs 3 million.
The issue revolved around one Roshan Khan alias Pilia Masuri Bugti who had murdered Mira Khan, brother of one Karam Khan Shahani. Meanwhile, MPA Masuri claimed that neither he chaired any jirga nor was it in his knowledge that a jirga was held in Bakar. He had further stated that he was outside the district for the last three weeks and during that period he had attended sessions of the provincial assembly in Quetta from Sept 18 to 27. ‘Vani’ is the custom of giving females in marriage by an offending party to the males of the victim party to settle murder cases. The tradition has existed for centuries in the Khyber Pakhtunkhwa province, Balochistan and in some parts of Sindh under different names. The , passed in 2011, criminalised the practice, stating, “Whoever gives a female in marriage or otherwise compels her to enter into marriage, as ‘badla-e-sulh’, ‘vani’, or ‘swara’ or any other custom or practice under any name, in consideration of settling a civil dispute or criminal liability, shall be punished with imprisonment of either description for a term which may extend to seven years but shall not be less than three years and shall also be liable to fine of five hundred thousand rupees.”