This archived news story is available only for your personal, non-commercial use. Information in the story may be outdated or superseded by additional information. Reading or replaying the story in its archived form does not constitute a republication of the story.
SULTANWALA, Pakistan, Nov 22, 2005 (UPI via COMTEX) -- Five young Pakistani women, who were married in absentia when very young, now face abduction, rape or even death for refusing to honor the unions.
An order issued by a village council in the Punjab province says any one of the punishments can be carried out.
The women, all cousins, were married in absentia by a Mullah to illiterate sons of their family's enemies when the girls were between the ages of 6 and 13. The marriages were part of a compensation after the father of one of the girls shot and killed a family rival, Britain's Daily Telegraph reports.
The rival families have now called in their "debt" of the marriages even though circumstances have changed in the intervening years.
Amna Niazi, who at 22 is the oldest of the five women, is studying for a degree in English literature. She and the other four have vowed to commit suicide if their fathers obey the council. The Human Rights Commission of Pakistan says the "barbaric" tradition of handing over women to resolve disputes should end.
Copyright 2005 by United Press International