About three months ago Farida, the daughter of Sachal Mahar, eloped with Imdad Mahar, the son of Gulbahar Mahar. They got married by the permission of Sindh High Court circuit bench in Larkana. Their marriage sparked a family feud and Sachal Maher lodged a case against Imdad Mahar at the Khanpur Mahar police station, in Ghotki, for kidnapping his daughter.
The parents of the couple and relatives of Imdad Mahar left the village and went into hiding fearing repercussions. However, Sachal kept on warning Gulbahar Mahar, through middle men, to reconcile the matter through a jirga, otherwise be ready to face dire consequences.
Imdad’s father finally consented to resolve the matter and a jirga was supposedly held in the village. Two elders of the village, Rehmatullah Mahar and Sanjar Khan Mahar, presided over the jirga. After both sides were heard, they declared Imdad Mahar as karo, imposed a fine of Rs300,000 and ordered him to give the hand of his four-year-old sister, Sumaira, in marriage to Farida’s eight-year-old brother.
Gulbahar Mahar refused to accept the verdict and told the elders that he was ready to pay the fine but will not marry his young daughter. His refusal enraged the elders and they warned Gulbahar of dire consequences. However, Ghokti SSP took notice of the matter and ordered SHO Khanpur Mahar to probe the matter and report back.
The Express Tribune contacted Imdad Mahar on the phone. He said that after he married Farida, her father and other relatives attacked their house and took away two cows and two goats. According to him, his wife had appeared in district and sessions court Ghotki, one month after they got married for the hearing of the case filed by her father. The court allowed both of them to live together when Farida told the court that she wanted to live with him.
According to Imdad, the couple’s lives were in danger so they left their village and are living with some of their relatives. He refused to tell where, because of obvious security reasons. Imdad said that his father was missing for the past few days and feared that he might have been killed by Farida’s family. He registered a case against the two elders who held the jirga and another man, Jaffer Mahar. He accused Khanpur SHO of accepting a bribe from his wife’s relatives and hence, was reluctant to arrest them in spite of the fact that a case had been lodged against them.
Khanpur SHO Mahar Zahid Kamboh took another view of the matter. According to him, the matter was a matrimonial dispute and elders had stepped in to resolve the matter. He said that the meeting should not be called a jirga because they are chaired by renowned Sardars or influential landlords. Ghotki SSP Pir Mohammad Shah was not available for comment.
Published in The Express Tribune, October 16th, 2011.