BCHA member Darwin submitted the following article. Submit your own to [email protected].
A father`s courage has won out over an ancient tribal marriage custom in the Peshawar region of North Western Pakistan. With the resolve of, “No, not my daughters.” on his lips, Muhammad Nawaz challenged his two nephews who had declared their intention to marry his two girls, Shaista and Razia.
The custom which is named Ghag, only required a silent claim of marriage by anyone from a tribal elder to a family enemy. It is held together by strong tribal social pressure, centuries of habit and in the case of Mr. Nawaz a heavy fine from the local assembly of elders called a jirga in this Pashtun region. Anyone refusing to abide by this custom had to agree to never marry as long as they lived.
He decided to bypass them and lobby the provincial parliament to have a law in place that would stop this practice.
In a surprisingly short period of time in 2012, a law was passed in the Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa provincial parliament that includes a fine or a prison term of between 5-7 years or both. Hopefully, this custom can be made to peacefully die out with the help of enforcement by local police. Mr. Nawaz`s young daughters are safe and continuing their studies at school.