Posted on May 31, 2005

Bride Gang-Raped After Wedding

South African Press Agency, May 30

Islamabad — A bride was gang-raped by her groom’s friends on the first night of their marriage with her in-laws’ consent in the southern part of Pakistan’s Punjab province, a news report said on Monday.

The daily Times said Mujahid Hussain and his family allowed the bride, Kaneez Kubra, to be dishonoured in revenge for her brother’s crime of having sexual relations with their daughter.

The bride’s father, Ghulam Hussain, said four persons sexually assaulted his daughter in front of his son-in-law in his house in Punjab.

But her ordeal did not end there. Ghulam Hussain said on the following day she was taken to the residence of another friend and assaulted again.

“They are cruel. Hussain’s grandfather and mother plainly told my daughter the wedding was just an excuse to (inflict) revenge on your brother for having sexual relations with our girl,” he said.

Kubra was married to Mujahid last month on the directives of Panchayat (local jury) after it found her brother guilty of having illicit relations with Mujahid’s sister.

In Pakistan’s tribal and rural Punjab, women are married without their consent in compensation for the crime committed by their male family members to settle the dispute under “Swara” and “Vani” customs.

Human rights activists and Muslim scholars have opposed these customs and asked the government to take action against them.

“Islam provided for pardon, killing for killing or blood money as three options to settle murder,” said Anis Ahmed, a scholar at the International Islamic University in Islamabad, adding “there is no other way and swara or any other such practice has no basis in Islam”.

In 2002, eight young women, including two sisters aged two and four, escaped vani marriages near the Punjab city of Mianwali after the Supreme Court of Pakistan said the practice violated the law and norms of civilised society.