Last edited: March 01, 2005

Adultery Ruling Puts Girl, 2, in Betrothal

Chicago Tribune, February 22, 2005
Items compiled from Tribune news services

MULTAN, PAKISTAN—A tribal council has ordered the betrothal of a 2-year-old girl to a man 40 years older to punish her uncle for an alleged affair with the man’s wife, police said Monday.

The council decreed the girl must marry Mohammed Altaf, 42, her uncle’s cousin, when she turns 18, police said.

Altaf, a farmer, divorced his 32-year-old wife over her alleged affair with his 20-year-old cousin, Mohammed Akmal.

Altaf asked tribal elders in the village of Kacha Chohan, about 215 miles west of Multan, to convene a panchayat, or council, on Feb. 15. The betrothal and a $3,800 fine payable to Altaf were ordered as punishment.

Village councils in conservative rural regions of Pakistan traditionally rule on local disputes including those involving a family’s “honor” besmirched by allegations of improper sexual behavior. The councils can dictate harsh—and sometimes illegal—punishments.

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