Pakistani Pakhtuns marry their cousins

ACCORD - Austrian Center for Country of Origin & Asylum Research and Documentation

July 3, 2014

This document is based on a time-limited search of publicly available documents currently available to ACCORD and has been prepared in accordance with the standards of ACCORD and the Common EU Guidelines for processing Country of Origin Information (COI) created.

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Ludwig W. Adamec, professor emeritus at the University of Arizona, writes in his historical dictionary on Afghanistan (fourth edition), published in 2012, that the Shinwari are Pashtuns who immigrated to the Nangarhar area in the 16th century:

"The Shinwaris are Pashtuns who migrated in the 16th century into the area of ​​Nangarhar." (Adamec, 2012, p.396)

On the Afghan Bios website, whose operator is Bruns V. Erek in Hanover, Germany, and which collects data from international media, Internet research and personal contacts, there is an entry from March 2011 on the Shinwari tribe. The Shinwari are a Pashtun tribe living in western Pakistan and eastern Afghanistan. In eastern Afghanistan the number of Shinwari is 400,000. In addition to a large number of Shinwari in Nangarhar Province, there are also some in Kunar Province and in northern Afghanistan:

“The Shinwari are an ethnic Pashtun tribe of western Pakistan and eastern Afghanistan. In eastern Afghanistan there are 400,000 Shinwaris living. [...] A major portion of the Shinwari tribe is settled in the areas between Landi Kotal (Pakistan) and Jalalabad (Afghanistan). These Shinwaris are mostly traders and businessmen. And the large number of Shinwari are settled in Nangahar province of Afghanistan some of them are settled in Kunar province of Afghanistan and some in north of Afghanistan (kelegi) a district. " (Afghan Bios, March 25, 2011)

Dr. In an email dated June 20, 2014, Noah Coburn, an anthropologist at Bennington College in the United States who has carried out field research in Afghanistan, replied to the questions he had been forwarded about the traditional Shinwari marriage laws and the consequences for people who who oppose this. According to Coburn, these are not easy questions as there is a great deal of local variation, even within the Shinwari tribe. Although he spent some time in the Shinwari settlement area, he does not know the region as well as some other areas in Afghanistan. (Coburn, June 20, 2014)

Information on the traditional marriage laws / rules of the Shinwari tribe

As Dr. Noah Coburn cites in his June 20, 2014 email that the Shinwari have their own tribal laws regarding marriage. However, these are localized and therefore not the same for all Shinwari. According to Coburn, tribal laws could deviate from the principles contained in Pashtunwali. (Coburn, June 20, 2014)

Brent E. Turvey, an American forensic scientist and case analyst, writes in a book on violent crime published in 2014 that the Shinwari are a deeply conservative tribe in eastern Afghanistan. In 2014, Shinwari tribal elders from various districts signed a resolution banning several practices harmful to girls and women. Among them is a ban on a practice for the settlement of blood feuds, in which a man who commits a murder has to make his daughter or sister available to a man of the damaged family as a bride:

"There are also signs of change for the better inside the largest tribe in eastern Afghanistan - the deeply conservative Shinwaris. Shinwari [tribal] elders from several districts signed a resolution this year outlawing several practices that harm girls and women. These included a ban on using girls to settle so-called blood feuds - when a man commits murder, he must hand over his daughter or sister as a bride for a man in the victim’s family. The marriage ostensibly 'mixes blood to end the bloodshed.' Otherwise, revenge killings often continue between the families for generations ... "(Turvey, 2014, p.6)

The Norwegian country of origin information center Landinfo reported in a May 2011 report on “baad” marriages, which are deals made when a family, clan or tribe takes responsibility for compensating a crime victim . In this practice, a young girl is given as the bride to the victim's family / group. With the Shinwari in Nangarhar, "baad" is not a possible solution if a murder has occurred:

"Baad marriages are agreements concluded as a consequence of a family, a clan or a tribe acknowledging the responsibility to compensate the victim of a crime. It involves giving a young girl (s) to the victim’s family / group. The marriages are agreed with a view to solving / ending conflicts that may involve, or have developed into, a blood feud. […] AREU [Afghanistan Research and Evaluation Unit] also points out that this tradition is not practiced among certain Pashtun tribes. For example, baad is not a possible solution to a murder case among the Shinwari in Nangarhar (Smith 2009b). " (Landinfo, May 19, 2011, p.13)

The Pashto Academy based at Peshawar University, an institution promoting the Pashto language, mentions on its undated website that early marriages are a Shinwari tradition (Pashto Academy, undated).

In the sources currently available at ACCORD, no further information on the above-mentioned question could be found in the context of the time-limited research. In the following you will find more general information on traditional marriage rules and marriage traditions of the Pashtuns. Some sources refer to the Pashtunwali, the code of honor of the Pashtuns, which is why information on the meaning and applicability of this code is also taken into account.

Future Generations, an international civil society organization that claims to promote community-led development in partnership with governments, states in a December 2013 report with reference to Nangarhar Province that the province is ethnically dominated by Pashtuns and the traditional Pashtun code of honor, Pashtunwali, applied and respected in social and civic matters by all ethnic groups:

"The province [of Nangarhar] has an approximate population of 1,261,900. Ethnically the province is dominated by Pashtuns, consisting of approximately 90% of the total population; a small number of Pashayes, Arabs, Tajik and ethnic minorities making up the remaining 10%. The primary language spoken is Pashtu with some of the ethnic minorities speaking Pashaye or Dari. The traditional Pashtun tribal code of honor - Pashtunwali - is both applied to, and respected by, all ethnic groups regarding social and civic affairs. " (Future Generations, December 2013, p.17)

Palwasha Kakar, currently the senior program officer for religion and peacekeeping at the United States Institute of Peace (USIP), a US federal agency for the research and prevention of violent conflict, writes in an undated report on the Pashtunwali that makes it so important to the The identity of the Pashtuns is that there is no distinction between practicing Pashtunwali and being Pashtun.

With the Pashtuns, although it is said that the best marriages are between first cousins, marriages with members of other families are common. The women would initiate the bridal search for their sons or male family members. Often, after a recommendation has been made, the matriarch of the household visits the prospective bride's house. If everyone involved at this point agrees, the marriage will first be discussed with the women in the household of the potential bride and then with the men. While it is usually women who choose a suitable bride, it is not uncommon for the male head of the family to make a decision to expand his influence through marriage. Neither the bride nor the groom is directly involved in large parts of the process, unless the groom is an autonomous head of the household or the bride is a widow. Usually the elders and heads of household, and often the matriarch, would make the decision:

"Pashtunwali is so essential to the identity of the Pashtun that there is no distinction between practicing Pashtunwali and being Pashtun." (Kakar, undated, p.2)

"Among Pashtuns, though it is said that the best marriages are those between first cousins, marriage into other families does happen at a high rate. The women initiate the search for the sons or male relatives of their families. Often, after a recommendation has been made, the matriarch of the household will visit the woman’s house. If everyone involved at this point is in agreement, the matter is broached first with the women of that household and then with the men. Though it is usually women who find a suitable wife and a suitable member to join their household network, it is not uncommon for the male leader of the family to make a decision on his own and for his own political gain. Neither the bride nor the groom is directly involved in much of the process, unless the groom is the autonomous head of his household or the woman is a widow. It is usually the elders and leaders of the household who make the decision, and often the matriarch. " (Kakar, undated, p.9)

Lutz Rzehak, private lecturer at the Central Asian Seminar of the Institute for Asian and African Studies at the Humboldt University in Berlin, wrote in a report on Pashtunwali published in March 2011 that Afghan society, including the Pashtun society, has been unifying in recent decades have experienced profound change. As a result, the ideals of Pashtunwali would be in competition with other value systems that were gaining influence. The question of how important Pashtunwali is in Afghanistan cannot be answered in general. It depends on each individual situation by which values ​​the behavior of an individual or a group is controlled. However, there is no doubt that Pashtunwali ideals will continue to be an attractive and sometimes binding option.

Rzehak further states that the position of women in Pashtunwali is primarily determined by the concept of patrilineal descent and the clear distinction between kinship by descent and kinship by marriage. This explains, among other things, why many Pashtuns prefer patrilineal marriages and marriages are often arranged as patrilineal cross-cousin marriages. The concept of patrilineal descent could also explain Levirate marriages, in which the brother of a deceased man is obliged to marry his brother's widow. The widow, for her part, is obliged to marry the brother of her deceased husband:

"It is important to stress that the society of Afghanistan, including Pashtun society, was subject to fundamental change in almost every respect during the last decades. As a result, today the ideals of Pashtunwali compete with other value systems that gained influence during that time. The question how important Pashtunwali still is in modern Afghanistan cannot be answered in a general way. [...] It depends on every particular situation by which values ​​the behavior of individuals or groups is guided, but there is no doubt that among the competing value systems the ideals of Pashtunwali still continue to present an attractive and sometimes binding option today. " (Rzehak, March 21, 2011, p.2)

“In the concept of Pashtunwali, the position of women is mainly defined by the idea of ​​patrilineal descent and by the clear distinction which is made between relationship by descent (khpəlwali) and relationship by marriage (kheșhi). This explains why the birth of a son and the birth of a daughter cause different feelings, why women are excluded from the division of the estate, why many Pashtuns prefer marriages inside the patrilineage, why the transfer of money and goods is compulsory for marriages, and why marriages are often arranged as patrilineal cross-cousin marriages. The idea of ​​patrilineal descent can also explain levirate-marriages according to which the brother of a deceased man is obligated to marry his brother’s widow, and the widow is obligated to marry her deceased husband’s brother. Levirate-marriages are also a question of nāmus [can be translated as 'honor', 'reputation', 'esteem', 'conscience', and 'chasteness']. They serve as protection for the widow and her children, ensuring not only that they have a male provider responsible for them, but that the children remain in the responsibility of their father’s patrilineage. " (Rzehak, March 21, 2011, p.10)

Military Corps Intelligence Activity (MCIA), the United States Marine Corps' military intelligence service, Public Intelligence, writes in an undated report on Pashtuns in Afghanistan that dating is unknown in Afghanistan. Marriages would be arranged or negotiated, in most cases by the female family members. It is preferred to look for a partner among the first cousins, and if that is not possible, a partner with whom tribal solidarity can be maintained:

"Dating is an unknown institution in Afghanistan. [...] Marriages are arranged or negotiated, mainly by the female family members. It is preferred to find a mate from among one’s first cousins, or if this is not feasible, to seek to choose a mate that would maintain tribal solidarity. " (MCIA, undated, p.27)

Landinfo’s report, cited above, provides detailed information on marriage traditions and practices in Afghanistan. The report notes, however, that different ethnic groups in Afghanistan have different traditions in terms of agreeing to marry and getting married. In addition, these traditions are not practiced uniformly within the groups and there could be large local deviations (Landinfo, May 19, 2011, p.5). The full report is available at the following link:

Landinfo - Norwegian Country of Origin Information Center: Afghanistan: Marriage Report Afghanistan, May 19, 2011 (available on ecoi.net)

http://www.ecoi.net/file_upload/1226_1337002361_1852-1.pdf

Consequences for couples who defy Shinwari marriage rules

When asked what the consequences would be for couples who oppose the Shinwari marriage rules, Dr. Noah Coburn in his June 20, 2014 email that the consequences could be very severe. Often times, when the community supported the family, the dispute would be ignored and the consequences could be minimal. However, if the dispute overlaps with other disputes, particularly adultery, running away from home, etc., the death penalty could be considered. However, these are the more extreme cases:

"The consequences could be very sever. Often times if the community supports the family, discord will be ignored and the consequences could be minimal. If, however, it overlaps with other disputes in particular, adultery, running away from home etc, could all be considered punishable by death. Again, those are in the more extreme cases. "(Coburn, June 20, 2014)

In the sources currently available at ACCORD, no further information on the above-mentioned question could be found in the context of the time-limited research. The following provides more general information on the consequences for people who violate marital traditions and information on the consequences for people who are accused of premarital or extramarital sexual intercourse or a premarital or extramarital relationship.

In its May 2011 report, Landinfo addresses, among other things, how reactions might be to marriages that have been concluded without the consent of the family. According to Landinfo, couples often disregard their families' choice of spouse, despite the fact that there are powerful cultural codes and few options for fair treatment or real protection in the event of a violation of marriage traditions. Such marriages, in which the decisions of the families are disregarded, are often referred to as love marriages. As far as Landinfo is known, the coverage of love marriages is anecdotal. It is very likely that the scope of such relationships is rather limited.

Couples who oppose their families and violate marriage traditions by making an independent choice of spouse are usually unable to settle in their local area and have to leave their families and their homes. According to anthropologist Thomas Barfield, it is common for the couple in question to flee the region and seek refuge elsewhere because the woman's father and brothers are expected to kill the couple.

Landinfo also states that many marriage traditions in Afghanistan violate women's rights. In the event of an independent choice of spouse contrary to the wishes of the family, men could also face severe sanctions. Nonetheless, according to some sources, women are more at risk in such cases:

"Despite strong cultural codes and few opportunities for fair treatment or real protection in the event of violations of marriage traditions, it nevertheless occurs that couples defy their respective families’ decisions on choice of a spouse. Such marriages are often referred to as love marriages. In the strictly gender-segregated Afghan society there are very few or no arenas where young men and women can meet and develop intimate relationships. Girls who have entered / reached puberty are zealously protected from contact with males not belonging to their families. The reporting of love marriages, as far as Landinfo is aware, can be described as anecdotal, and the scope of such relationships is most likely rather limited.

Couples who confront their families and break marriage traditions by making an independent choice of spouse, will normally be unable to settle in their local environment and will have to leave their families and homes. As Thomas Barfield points out: 'Because her father and brothers are then expected to kill them, the couple often flees the area and seeks sanctuary (nanawati) elsewhere' (Barfield 2003).

[...] In general, various marriage traditions in Afghanistan primarily tend to violate women’s rights. Concerning an independent choice of spouse against the wishes of the family, men may also be exposed to severe sanctions. Some sources argue that women are, nevertheless, more vulnerable in these cases. " (Landinfo, May 19, 2011, p.16-17)

The Danish Immigration Service (DIS) wrote in a report published in May 2012 on a fact-finding mission to Kabul in March 2012 that, according to the Afghan Ministry of Women's Affairs, young men and women who break social norms regarding marriage would including people who would reject a forced marriage are confronted with major problems in Afghanistan. According to the ministry, young men and women run away from home to avoid forced marriages, which is not a crime by law. Still, many young women and men who ran away from home would end up in jail:

"MOWA [Ministry of Women's Affairs] stated that young men and women, who are breaking social norms with regard to marriage, including rejecting a forced marriage, are facing huge problems in Afghanistan. Among the cases of violence against women which have been reported to MOWA from provinces in the first three quarters of Afghan year 1390 (2011‐2012), 131 are cases related to forced marriages. MOWA explained that to avoid a forced marriage young men and women run away from home. MoWA stated that according to the law, it is not a crime to run away from home, but many young males and 4/5 females who run away from their homes end up in prison. MWA has launched a campaign to raise awareness about this issue. "(DIS, May 29, 2012, p.35)

In its undated report on Pashtuns in Afghanistan, the Military Corps Intelligence Activity (MCIA) writes that premarital or extramarital intercourse can be punishable by death:

"Pre-marital or extra-marital sex can be punishable by death." (MCIA, undated, p.27)

The Landinfo report from May 2011, mentioned above, quotes the International Legal Foundation, an NGO which, according to its own statements, supports transition countries in setting up a public defender system and maintains, among other things, an office in Afghanistan. The International Legal Foundation believes that extramarital relationships are a very sensitive issue among all ethnic groups, but that Pashtuns may have a more restrictive stance than other groups:

"The International Legal Foundation considers extra-marital affairs to be a highly sensitive topic in all the ethnic groups, but argue that Pashtuns may have a more restrictive view than the other groups." (Landinfo, May 19, 2011, p.19)

Further information on the consequences for couples who marry against the will of the family and the consequences for people who are accused of premarital or extramarital sex or a premarital or extramarital relationship can be found in the following older ACCORD query responses:

ACCORD - Austrian Center for Country of Origin and Asylum Research and Documentation: Question response on Afghanistan: 1) Threat to a man who married a woman against the will of her family from the brothers or the father of the woman; 2) Protection by authorities in the Kabul area [a-7223], April 22, 2010 (see copy in the appendix)

ACCORD - Austrian Center for Country of Origin and Asylum Research and Documentation: Inquiry response on Afghanistan: Pashtunwali sanctions for premarital sexual relations and marriage without the consent of the bride's father; Access to Police Protection [a-7532], April 5, 2011 (available on ecoi.net)

http://www.ecoi.net/file_upload/response_de_159879.html

ACCORD - Austrian Center for Country of Origin and Asylum Research and Documentation: Query response on Afghanistan: Sanctions against unmarried couple who go into hiding (role of ethnicity and religion?); Sanctions against family members of the man [a-8230], December 27, 2012 (available on ecoi.net)

http://www.ecoi.net/local_link/236654/361931_de.html

Consequences for those who support such couples

In his email dated June 20, 2014, Dr. In response to the question of what consequences people would have to expect who support couples who oppose the Shinwari tribal laws regarding marriages, Noah Coburn first refers to his answer to the previous question (Consequences for couples who abide by the Shinwari rules regarding marriages oppose). However, if the case is related to other local issues, such as disputes over land or power, the consequences could range as far as death. However, this would be an extreme case. Coburn believed that some kind of fine or social ostracism would be more common. Nevertheless, it would not be inconceivable that someone would be killed for such an offense:

"See my answer above, but if this case is related to some other local issues, such as disputes over land or power, the consequences could be as sever as death, though this would be extreme. More typical I believe would be some type of fine or social ostracizing, but it would not be unheard of for someone to be killed for such offenses. " (Coburn, June 20, 2014)

In the sources currently available at ACCORD, no further information on the above-mentioned question could be found in the context of the time-limited research.

Swell:(Accessed to all sources on July 3, 2014)

ACCORD - Austrian Center for Country of Origin and Asylum Research and Documentation: Question response on Afghanistan: 1) Threat to a man who married a woman against the will of her family from the brothers or the father of the woman; 2) Protection by authorities in the Kabul area [a-7223], April 22, 2010 (see copy in the appendix)

ACCORD - Austrian Center for Country of Origin and Asylum Research and Documentation: Inquiry response on Afghanistan: Pashtunwali sanctions in the event of a premarital sexual relationship and marriage without the consent of the bride's father; Access to Police Protection [a-7532], April 5, 2011 (available on ecoi.net)

http://www.ecoi.net/file_upload/response_en_159879.html

ACCORD - Austrian Center for Country of Origin and Asylum Research and Documentation: Query response on Afghanistan: Sanctions against unmarried couple who go into hiding (role of ethnicity and religion?); Sanctions against family members of the man [a-8230], December 27, 2012 (available on ecoi.net)

http://www.ecoi.net/local_link/236654/361931_de.html

Adamec, Ludwig H .: Historical Dictionary of Afghanistan, 4th edition, 2012

Afghan Bios: Afghan Biographies: Shinwari Tribe, March 25, 2011

http://www.afghan-bios.info/index.php?option=com_afghanbios&id=1702&task=view&total=2883&start=2455&Itemid=2

Coburn, Noah: E-Mail-Inquiry, June 20, 2014

· DIS - Danish Immigration Service: Afghanistan; Country of Origin Information for Use in the Asylum Determination Process; Report from Danish Immigration Service’s fact finding mission to Kabul, Afghanistan; 25February to 4March 2012, May 29, 2012
http://www.nyidanmark.dk/NR/rdonlyres/3FD55632-770B-48B6-935C-827E83C18AD8/0/FFMrapportenAFGHANISTAN2012Final.pdf

Future Generations: Research Report: Engaging Community Resilience for Security, Development and Peace building in Afghanistan, December 2013

http://www.future.org/sites/future.org/files/Afghanistan%20Positive%20Deviance%20Research%20Report%20Jan2014.pdf

· Kakar, Palwasha: Tribal Law of Pashtunwali and Women’s Legislative Authority, undated

http://www.law.harvard.edu/programs/ilsp/research/kakar.pdf

Landinfo - Norwegian Country of Origin Information Center: Afghanistan: Marriage Report Afghanistan, May 19, 2011 (available on ecoi.net)

http://www.ecoi.net/file_upload/1226_1337002361_1852-1.pdf

MCIA - Military Corps Intelligence Activity: Cultural Intelligence for Military Operations: Pashtuns in Afghanistan, undated (available on Public Intelligence website)

http://info.publicintelligence.net/MCIA-AfghanCultures/Pashtuns.pdf

· Pashto Academy: Poets (Humza Shinwari), undated

http://pashto.upesh.edu.pk/humza.htm

Rzehak, Lutz: Doing Pashto: Pashtunwali as the ideal of honorable behavior and tribal life among the Pashtuns, March 21, 2011 (published by AAN)

https://www.afghanistan-analysts.org/wp-content/uploads/downloads/2012/10/20110321LR-Pashtunwali-FINAL.pdf

Turvey, Brent E .: Victimology: A Brief History with an Introduction to Forensic Victimology. In: Forensic Victimology: Examining Violent Crimes in Investigative and Legal Contexts (Ed .: Brent E. Turvey), 2014, pp.1-30 (excerpts available on Google Books)

http://books.google.at/books?id=8vEfd-lQBqkC&pg=PA6&lpg=PA6&dq=shinwari+marriage+tribe&source=bl&ots=#v=onepage&q=shinwari%20marriage%20tribe&f=false