Pakistan's top court ordered an investigation on Tuesday into the alleged barter of at least seven girls to settle a blood feud in the Baluchistan province.
Pakistan's Chief Justice Iftikhar Chaudhry began the proceedings into the allegations, according to the Associated Press.
The AP reported the trade allegedly happened in the Dera Bugti district of Baluchistan, between two sub-tribes of the province.
District deputy commissioner Saeed Faisal told the court that a tribal council had ordered the barter in early September, according to Al Jazeera. Faisal said he did not know the girls' ages, but local media said they were aged between four and 13.
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Tariq Masuri, the local provincial assembly legislator who allegedly chaired the meeting that finalized the barter, has been summoned to appear in court on Wednesday, said Al Jazeera. Masuri has denied the allegations.
Pakistani newspaper DawnNews reported that up to 13 girls were involved in the incident. Wani, the traditional practice of exchanging unmarried girls to settle feuds, is banned in Pakistan, but still practiced in the more conservative communities and tribal areas.
The Prevention of Anti-Women Practices Act, passed in 2011, criminalized Wani, said DawnNews. "Whoever gives a female in marriage or otherwise compels her to enter into marriage, as ‘badla-e-sulh’, wanni, or swara or any other custom or practice under any name, in consideration of settling a civil dispute or criminal liability, shall be punished with imprisonment of either description for a term which may extend to seven years but shall not be less than three years and shall also be liable to fine of five hundred thousand rupees," states the act.
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