Easter blessings from UCAN
There is no more important week in the year for Christians than this Holy Week. We call it Holy because of the mystery we celebrate - God's gift of His son who loves us to his death on Calvary and beyond.
Because of that love, we wish each other Happy Easter even when we know there is a lot of tragedy about it - Good Friday. As Christians, we know that what we see happening with and in Jesus goes to the heart of what we know from our own experience of life.
At the Second Vatican Council, the Christian lives we all lead were described as being shares in the Paschal Mystery. We have our share in the death and resurrection of Jesus every day. Our lives are part of the Paschal Mystery.
At UCAN, we work to describe that mystery in the unfolding tragedies and astonishing blessings of the people we seek out and report, feature and comment on.
While at times deeply distressing work, this effort of ours gets its coherence in the same way the death of Jesus did - because of the astonishing grace of a God who never gives up on life and love.
Because of that, we can wish you Happy Easter.
Fr. Michael Kelly SJ
Girls traded to settle blood feud
Deal included a four-year-old
- ucanews.com reporter, Quetta
- October 9, 2012
The vani, a custom of marrying young girls to resolve blood feuds, was allegedly overseen by the assembly member and accompanied by a three million rupee payment to a murder victim's family.
â€œWe have been raising awareness against this tribal tradition for decades and were appalled by its resurrection," said Muhammad Haroon Dawood, resident director ofÂ the Aurat Foundation, an organization working for women's rights.
â€œThe incidents are more common in tribal and rural areas. Several tribal elders have banned vani and now support love marriages. Media advocacy has also raised awareness but we are helpless as many politicians are influential chiefs and possess the same mentality," he said.
According to the Foundation's research, 14 cases of vani, involving 20 girls, were reported inÂ PunjabÂ province in the first six months of this year. The girls, mostly under 18, were bartered in assemblies of elders held in 11 rural and two urban areas.
A conviction for forcing a woman or girl into marriage to solve a civil dispute can carry a jail sentence of three to seven year, and a fine of 500,000 rupees (US$ 5,235).
The Catholic Bishops' National Commission for Justice and Peace (NCJP) also condemned the jirgaÂ - bartering - system and demanded justice for traded girls.
â€œTribal women are barred from attending these assemblies and thus cannot raise their voice against this injustice,"said Kiran Afzaal, a lawyer at NCJP. "NinetyÂ percent of such girls are disgraced and even sexually used by males of the whole family. Their parents are not allowed to meet them.
â€œStill people opt for jirgas for speedy justice," he said.