Definition of Swara/Vani:
There exists in Pakistan a custom where a girl is given as an offering to ‘settle’ a conflict or dispute.
This custom is practiced in different parts of Pakistan under different names. It is called Vani in Punjab, Dand or Badda in Sind, and Swara or Valver in KPK and other tribal areas of Pakistan. As this type of violence against women is most commonly practiced in KPK and South Punjab, for the purpose of simplicity we will refer to it as Swara.
In this practice, an accused family gives its girl or girls in marriage to an aggrieved family as compensation to settle a blood feud between them, instead of the practice of giving blood money as “badl-e-sulh” or compensation. Generally, girls are given in Swara as compensation for murder, adultery, abduction and
kidnapping committed by the men of the family. Girls are also given in Swara in cases where the family’s honour is considered breached, for example, a boy and girl marrying of their choice and against the family’s wishes.
The custom of Swara is also practiced in circumstances where the heirs of a murdered victim, whose case is settled in the court, can lawfully withdraw a criminal charge by accepting compensation in the form of Swara. In this way, the criminal can be pardoned at any stage before the execution of the sentence by the sacrifice of a woman. The court is obliged to accept the compromise between the victim’s family and the murderer.