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Paktika families struggling with crippling dowries

Paktika families struggling with crippling dowries

Nov 03, 2017 - 00:05

SHARANA (Pajhwok): High dowry demands often lead to disputes between families and coerce bridegrooms to travel to foreign countries for work to earn money.

Agha Mohammad, a resident of Gomal district of southeastern Paktika province, told Pajhwok Afghan News that besides creating disputes among families, high dowries led to violence among couples.

He said the ‘bride price’ in their district was 1.5 million afghanis (around $22,000), an issue responsible for most of post-marriage problems between the families of groom and bride.

“A man in our village was engaged to a girl against 1.8 million Pakistani rupees as dowry. The man traveled to Iran to earn that money but he was killed by Iranian guards on the way.

Habibullah, a resident of Zirok district, said dowry cost in Zirok, Gomal, Nika, Khushamand, Janikhel, Khairkot, Urgon, Sarubi, Waza Khwa, Warmami, Terwa and Yahyakhel districts ranged from 800,000 afghanis to two million afghanis.

“Many men and women despite increasing age remain unmarried in these areas due to high dowry cost,” he said.

The high dowry cost negatively affected the youth and forced them into migration, jointing militants or addicting to drugs, he said.

A girl from Sarobi district, who wished to go unnamed, said her father took 1,500,000 afghanis as dowry from her finance.

“My father-in-laws do not allow me to visit my parents, because they say that my father took a high amount of dowry from them, I have no good life in such a situation,” she said.

A number of other residents came up with similar complaints and asked the government, tribal elders and Islamic scholars to find a solution to the problem.

Provincial women’s affairs director, Bibi Hawa Khshiwal, said high dowry cases were common only in rural and remote areas.

Tribal elders in some areas have agreements with families to keep dowry costs lower than 200,000 afghanis, she said.

“We have also registered cases in which young men and girls eloped before their marriage due to high dowry costs,” she said.

Dad Mohammad, head of Islahi (Reform) Council in Sharana city, said that agreements for prevention of bad traditions had been signed in 30 villages.

“These agreements are signed for prevention of high dowry demands, unnecessary expenses and funeral ceremony expenditures, the agreements are helpful,” he said.

He said dowry cost was set 250,000 afghanis based on the agreements and if anyone violated the agreements, the fine was 50,000 afghanis.

An Islamic scholar from Paktika, Asadullah, said exorbitant dowry was against Sharia law. “High dowry turns good relationship to bad one.”