Vani (Urdu: ونی ) is a child marriage custom in tribal areas of Pakistan. Besides tribal areas, it is widely followed in Punjab in Pakistan. This custom is tied to blood feuds among the different tribes and clans where the young girls are forcibly married to the members of different clans in order to resolve the feuds. The Vani could be avoided if the clan of the girl agrees to pay money, called Deet (Urdu: .(دیت) This custom is illegal in Pakistan but still practiced in some areas. Recently the courts in Pakistan have begun taking serious note and action against the continuation of the practice. This is a serious crime in Pakistan.
The annual number of child marriages taking place in Pakistan remains unknown. It is believed most such forced marriages, many occurring in relatively remote rural areas, go unreported.
Amnesty International (AI), in a report in 2002, found that such marriages were widespread, despite increased awareness about violence against women in all forms. The United Nations Development Fund for Women (UNIFEM), has been campaigning against forced marriages in Pakistan, but for the present, despite these efforts, the trend continues, rights activists say.
The Sindh and southern Punjab region is one of the most impoverished in the country, and research carried out into the issue indicates this is a key factor in the increase in such unlawful unions, with parents often tempted to sell off young girls in exchange for the high price offered by grooms, often many times the age of their ‘brides’.
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