Pukhtun men prides themselves with strange sense of Ghairat (honour) and Pukhto , although selling their women privately and publicly never went out of practise. The selling is carried out in Afghanistan , Pakistan border areas FATA and even in settled areas of Khyber pukhtunkhawa like Swat ,Dir and inside Peshawar in the form of Swara ( used in criminal cases when dispute is settled by giving away your daughter or sister ) Now with Arab money and influence ,coupled with the huge financial losses , cultural , social disruption to the region due to War on terror I don’t see the Pukhtun men abandoning this practise in the near future. Selling is no less than forced prostitution or slavery but justified by our men in the garb of religion because mostly the girl in question are forced into nikkah (religiously solemnizing ) . So this way the Ghairat (honour) and Religious obligation are met by the men and society .
The selling if I bluntly put it ,can be categorized into two types as Society and traditions approves it,
The first one popularly known and practised in tribal set-up like Afghanistan and( FATA )Border areas of Pakistan and even the more settled areas like Dir and swat is Walwar.
Walwar is the amount paid by the groom or his family to the head of the bride’s household. The money might be spent on girls clothes , Jewellery or furniture but its not always the case . Financial benefit given to the bride’s family in return of the girl. So basically and Practically a girl child who is already considered a burden, our Pukhtun fathers and brothers tries to make a profit out of the girl child or recover all the losses incurred on her (education marriage or if any or her living expenses) . Walwar is decided according to girls worth which comprises of her beauty and virginity or chastity. The better naturally endowed she is by God ,the better price she will fetch for her father or brothers.More Walwar or bride money means more honour and monetary benefits for the girls family, and of course no consideration is given to the suitor( age compatibility or martial status ,the highest bidder takes the cake . There are instances when a girl married has been stopped by her father or family from going back to her husband house , because the father or family thought of the walwar money not enough , in these cases mostly in settled areas has been taken to the court by the groom family and cases filed under restitution of conjugal rights . The court has dismissed such cases under the judgement that mehr or dower was given to the girl and was taken by her as prompt dower. Hundreds of cases and judgement has been given by the high court Peshawar on walwar and its abuse, but unfortunately no legislation has been done to stop the abuse of the practise .
Another form of selling with no Monetary benefits or more like a barter popularly known and practised in areas of Afghanistan, FATA ,Dir and Swat is SWARA (TO RIDE ON HORSE ) OR VANI derived from pushto word wany meaning (blood) It is tied to blood feuds among the different tribes and clans where young girls are forcibly married to members of different clans in order to resolve the feuds.
Tribal and rural jirgas have been using young virgin girls from 4 to 14 years old, through child marriages, to settle crimes such as murder
In Afghanistan, a similar custom is called Ba’ad, .Sometimes this barter which is made by the parents of accused family to the victim is without religiously solemnising it (nikkah) and the poor girl is sent to the victim house to make atonement for the sin committed by the male member of the family .The practice of giving females in “badal-i-sulah” (as exchange of peace) was declared an offence according to the settled area laws and this custom is now an offence punishable up to ten years imprisonment but not less then three years imprisonment.Unfortunately it is still practised
In tribal customs although in Swara the girl is forced to get married which is known as” speen partogay” (which means she will be forced to get married into the victim family without any dowry or in plain clothes) . What I fail to understand that if the Pukhto and ghairat (honour) holds the Zan (woman) and Zar(property land) such an integral part of Pukhtunwali then how come Pukhtun men in the end will try to make a profit out of their daughters or sisters ( least invested in )forget about human rights or treating women as human beings.
Some of the work i used in my blog
5. Vani a social evil Anwar Hashmi and Rifat Koukab, The Fact (Pakistan), (July 2004)
7.Minutes recorded with family court judge peshawar .