Islamabad | A Pakistani couple united in an arranged marriage over 24 years ago has just learned that they are in fact, brother and sister.
The siblings, who were separated at youth after the tragic death of their parents, were later adopted by different families until they were later reunited and promised to each other believing that they were cousins.
It is only 24 years later that their grandmother found the strength to tell them the truth days before she passed away.
“We thought our marriage was normal, we thought we were cousins” explained Abdul Rahim, 47.
“Everybody in town knew we were brother and sister but no one had the courage to tell us until now,” said the sister turned wife, Aisha Rahim, in tears.
“When I watched the TV series Game of Thrones, that incestuous couple made me sick. Now I learn I am like them,” she told reporters, in despair.
Incestuous arranged marriages
Anthropologist Juliane Edwards who has studied the case of incestuous arranged marriages in Pakistan for decades is not surprised the least by the situation.
“It’s a cultural thing. When endogamous consanguineous marriages, or marriages between cousins, is socially acceptable, then marriage between siblings doesn’t seem as far-fetched,” she explained.
“I’ve repeatedly studied cases in Pakistan where widowed fathers would marry one or more of their daughters,” she admitted.
“I’ve heard of one case where one man’s daughter was allegedly very ugly and could not find a husband, so he forced his son to marry his own sister as a punishment for being lazy,” she recalls.
Last year, a Pakistani Federal Shariat Court judge made international headlines after refusing to allow a woman to divorce her brother from an arranged marriage stating that being siblings “was not enough of a justification” to obtain court approval for divorce under Sharia law.