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    21 couples tie the knot at mass-marriage ceremony

    CHARIKAR (PAN):  Amass-marriage ceremony, involving 21 young couples and sponsored by an Afghan entrepreneur, was held in central Parwan province on Monday, officials said.

    A mass-marriage commission containing representatives from women affairs department, provincial council, police headquarters and influential figures was established a month ago.

    Mohammad Yusuf Safaar, the panel's chairman, told Pajhwok Afghan News the commission was aimed to help the young people who could not afford marriages.

    He said 21 couples, who had registered with the body, tied the knot at a ceremony organised at Charikar Municipality Hotel.  Each couple was given household items and a month's expenses estimated at 300,000 afghanis ($6200) by Afghan Trader Haji Mayel.

    Syed Qasim Hashimi, a women affairs department official, said providing assistance to youngsters, who could not afford wedding expenses, was hugely effective in curbing domestic violence.

    He added most of under-resourced youth were obliged to borrow money or slogged it out in foreign climes, paving the ground for violence between the bride and family members.

    Sifatullah, one of those who wedded, said: “I was engaged for two years and did not have money to fund my marriage ceremony.” He intended to go to Iran to earn money, but signed up for the programme when the commission was established.

    Being happy with his marriage, Sifatullah asked other traders to follow in Haji Mayel's footsteps and help the needy youngsters marry and thus prevent immoral activities and family disputes.

    Mayel said he had financed similar events in Balkh and Herat provinces. He added his aim was to help those who were engaged, but did not have enough financial resources to marry.

    mbg /mud