Pakistani man sold minor daughter to marry 72-year-old, police foil attempt

(India today) - Police in Peshawar, in Pakistan’s Khyber Pakhtunkhwa province, arrested a 72-year-old man for attempting to marry a 12-year-old girl, according to local newspaper Express Tribune.

Authorities intervened before the nikkah could take place. The girl's father, Alam Syed, is accused of agreeing to sell his daughter to the 72-year-old groom, Habib Khan, for 500,000 Pakistani rupees.

Habib Khan was arrested, but the girl’s father managed to escape.

A case was registered under the Child Marriage Restraint Act against both the 72-year-old man and the girl’s father. The nikah registrar involved in the arrangement was also arrested.

Pakistan has one of the highest rates of child marriage in the world, with an estimated 30 per cent of girls married before 18. The legal age of marriage is 16, but enforcement remains a challenge.

While the British-era Child Marriage Restraint Act sets the minimum age for marriage, it prescribes a maximum penalty of one month imprisonment and a fine of Rs 1,000, seen as insufficient to deter offenders.

Khyber Pakhtunkhwa, the province where the attempted marriage occurred, is one of two provinces that haven't enacted more robust legislation to address child marriage.

According to Unicef, a staggering 18.9 million girls in Pakistan are married before they reach the age of 18, and 4.6 million are wedded before turning 16.

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