36 year old Wazir Ahmed who exchanged his daughter who just reached puberty for a new wife for himself is the latest buzz happening over the Internet. To him, his daughter reaching puberty is not a milestone, but a possession that could be used to get himself a new wife. He exchanged his daughter named Saima with a man named Ramzan for his sister who now became his second wife.
This system is kind of famous around the rural parts of Pakistan. The practice which is termed as “Watta Satta” which means give and take in Urdu. In Ahmed’s words he terms the exchange in a more cruel way. To him, girl children are a burden to the society and are usually used to settle feuds or given as an exchange to settle debts. Sometimes women are also exchanged to find a new wife in the case where the previous one failed to give birth to a man child.
“We gave a girl in this family for a girl in their family,” Ahmed told The National
“That is our right.”
“That would be a shame for us. We would have no honour. No – when they reach puberty, we have to marry them,” she says.
“Daughters are a burden, but the sons, they are the owners of the house.”
Ramzan’s home is tucked away in a narrow alley lined with open sewers. His elderly parents live with him. His father rarely leaves his bed, saying he has trouble walking. His mother spends her days begging, sometimes knocking on doors, other times sitting in the dusty road, her hand outstretched. Like Ramzan, she can neither hear nor speak. Both her hips and one knee have been broken.