Baad (practice)

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Baad is a traditional practice of settling disputes in Pakistan and Afghanistan among Pashtun tribes[1] in which a young virgin girl from the culprit's family is traded to settle a dispute for her older relatives. This may involve being used as payment for a financial dispute or as a means to avoid larger or longer-lasting arguments and grudges.[2] The practice has no legal or religious basis and is an ancient tradition that is widely accepted among Pashtun tribes.[2]


Ba'ad is a tradition in Afghanistan in which young virgin girls are used as a means to settle conflicts by her older relatives, typically committed by men in her immediate or joint family.[3]

When a man steals, kills, rapes, or is suspected of having an illicit affair, a council of elders called jirga decides the punishment.[4] The punishment for small crimes is a fine in the form of a few sheep or a cow. Standard penalty for a serious crime is for the offender's family to part with a virgin girl, between 4 and 14 years old, who is given to the victim's family. In theory, the girl is given in forced marriage to a man in the victim's family. In practice, often the girl given in Ba'ad is little more than a slave; she can be beaten or mistreated, or even killed. The practice of Ba'ad is a source of domestic violence in Afghanistan.[2][3]

“They put us in a dark room with stone walls; it was dirty and they kept beating us with sticks and saying, ‘Your uncle ran away with our wife and dishonored us, and we will beat you in retaliation.’ ”

— Shakila, 8 year old Afghan girl sentenced to Ba'ad, New York Times[3]

Baad is sometimes called Baadi in Pashto, a common practice in southern Afghanistan, in which a girl or woman is given to another family to settle a dispute between households or to serve as restitution for a crime or debt.[5] The practice of Baad has no Islamic basis and is haram same as forced marriage "A non-virgin woman may not be married without her command, and a virgin may not be married without her permission; and it is permission enough for her to remain silent (because of her natural shyness)." [Al-Bukhari:6455, Muslim & Others] .[6]

Afghan law[edit]

Ba'ad is a criminal offense under Article 517 of the 1976 Afghan Penal Code, but the Article applies only if a widow and woman above age 18 is given under Ba'ad. According to Afghan law, the sentence for perpetrators of Ba'ad (that is, forcing a woman into marriage and slavery through Ba'ad) cannot exceed two years of prison. No jirga elder or family is known to have been arrested or tried for taking or giving a girl in Ba'ad. The practice is widespread in Afghanistan. According to Human Rights Watch, Afghan people and jirga elders are not even aware of the law or the prohibition of the practice.[4]

Related customs[edit]

In Pakistan, a similar practice is called vani, swara or sak, depending on the region.

See also[edit]


  1. ^ "Brutalized Pashtun Girl Has Nose and Ears Cut Off By Her Taliban Husband",, 13 February 2011
  2. ^ a b c Institute for War and Peace Reporting, Pakistani and Afghan Girls Suffer for Sins of Male Relatives, 26 March 2009, ARR No. 317, available at: [accessed 5 December 2010].
  3. ^ a b c Alissa Rubin, For Punishment of Elder’s Misdeeds, Afghan Girl Pays the Price, New York Times, February 16, 2012
  4. ^ a b Afghanistan: Stop Women Being Given as Compensation, Human Rights Watch (March 8, 2011)
  5. ^ United Nations (2013), Terminology, Baad
  6. ^ United Nations Office of Drugs and Crime (2009), Justice for Children in Conflict with the Law, pp. 50, 358-361

External links[edit]