Pakistan: Harmful Practice "Vani" Continues in Rural Pakistan
Tuesday, November 12, 2013 9:55 AM

In Islamabad, Pakistan, an assembly of elders, known as a “Jirga,” met to settle a feud between two tribes. The elders decided that to settle the disagreement, as many as 13 young girls would be given to the tribe and forced to marry males of the tribe. This is a tradition known as ‘vani,’ and it is a custom that continues to occur within provinces around Pakistan.
Even though Pakistan is a signatory to the UN Convention on the Rights of the Child and child marriage is prohibited under the Child Marriages Restraint Act, it is still common. According to the Rahnuma-Family Planning Association of Pakistan, 30% of all marriages involve children. Many women's rights activists are trying to improve laws opposing child marriage, but it is a continuing struggle. The federal government is unable to enforce laws in provinces because jurisdiction is with the provincial leadership. Legislation, education and greater enforcement are needed in the provinces to protect women and girls against these harmful customs.