Bold espousal of women’s causes by a young Paktia man
KABUL (Pajhwok): Thanks to continued protests from a resident of southern Paktia province, the Ministry of Hajj and Islamic Affairs (MoHIA) has promised serious efforts to curb the evil of giving away girls to sort out disputes.
Khan Wali Adil 24, who pitched a tent near the parliament building in Kabul, told Pajhwok Afghan News: “I will immolate myself if such marriages are not stopped and girls in Paktia continue to be denied education.”
He erected the tent 10 days ago, but representatives of the government,Ulema Council or local officials have not yet met him on the issue, the young man regretted. “No concrete action has been taken so far,” he deplored.
“We should be assured that from now on religious scholarswill not approve of girls/women being used as a tool to settle disputes or prevented getting education,” the man added.
He asked the MoHIA and Ulema council to sort out the issues in coordination with local elders. All such marriage cases should be referred to courts, Adil demanded, recalling his hunger strike against negative traditions in Paktia 10 months ago.
Adil’s father gave away his 12 years daughter to resolve a feud and accepted the hand of a two and a half years old girl from the rival side with the support his uncle.
“I slipped into a coma during hunger strike; people took me out of Paktia after I got better. I was accused of insulting local traditions,” he revealed, lashing out at ignorance at the grass-roots level.
However, Paktia governor’s spokesman Naqib Ahmad Atalsaid the provincial government had not registered any such case in the past one year in the province. Residents generally go for condolence payments or other forms of compensation to settle murder cases.
With regard to Adil’sstance, Atal said: “We are unaware of what his demands are. Nonetheless, we will speak to his family on how best to address his complaints.”
Shams Rahman Frotan, an Islamic scholar, said: “To me, the struggle of this guy is really commendable. Government officials should work sincerely to banish the primitive traditionthat runs counter to Islamic teachings.”
He believed the Ulema Council should issue a fatwadeclaring illegal the marriage girls and women as a dispute-settlement mechanism.A number of civil society activists in Kabul also announced their support for Adil’s cause.
Ehsanullah Farahmand Qadiri, a spokesman for the Nawandesh Afghan Society, stoutly supportedon behalf of all civil society groupsAdil’s voice for justice and discouraging unwholesome practices.
However, Deputy Minister Dayee-ul-Haq Abid remarked: “All of us should pay due heed to grappling with such genuine social issues. Adil has really done well in taking a consistently bold stance against an illegal practice.
“I will personally visit his tent today and form a committee of ulema in Paktia to assess such cases and resolve them,” he promised, saying the ministry would order scholars in Kabul and other provinces to raise such issues during Friday sermons.
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