Group Members: Neo Yan Ting, Nur Aifaa, Tan Hui Shan, Nadia Omar, Hoo Xin Ci of 10s14
The custom, known as swara, calls for a girl to be given away in marriage to an aggrieved family as part of settlement for murder committed by one of her relatives.
The marriage ruins the lives of young girls, because they are abused physically, mentally and emotionally. Most girls married under swara spend their lives in torment because their in-laws consider them symbols of a rival family. This is unjust to the girls, as they are forced to pay for a crime they did not commit. These crimes are committed by men from their own family.
The victim of such practices is voiceless and helpless because the two parties involved in the deal are too powerful to be challenged by the girl. They are marginalised, because they are considered of a lower rank compared to men in the social hierarchy. They are also treated as a commodity and a mere symbol of family honor and dignity, instead of a human being with feelings. These girls are denied basic human rights such as the right to be educated. Education was declared as "western conspiracy", and more than 300 girls' schools were burnt, destroyed or closed down by local Taliban in Swat.
A strict dress code was imposed, where women must be fully covered from head to toe. Even girls of eight to nine years have to follow the dress code. Women were also not allowed to take part in the political activities and are barred from voting in clections.
Even though swara is banned by law, they continue to take place and are still practiced in some parts of southern Punjab and NWFP. What is really required is a bonded class-based fight against the corrupted system of capitalism, which encourges religious extremism and feudalism to continue. A joint effort by the government and civil society is required to stop the unjust practice against women.