Increasing prevalence of consanguineous marriage confirmed in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa Province, Pakistan

Document Type

Journal Article


Cambridge University Press

Place of Publication

United Kingdom


School of Medical Sciences




Originally published as: Sthanadar, A.A., Bittles, A.H., Zahid, M. (2015). Increasing prevalence of consanguineous marriage confirmed in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa province, Pakistan in Journal of Biosocial Science, 48, 418 - 420. Available here.


In their article on tribal Pashtuns in north-west Pakistan, Ahman et al.(2015) drew attention to the slight decline during the last 20 years in the prevalence of consanguineous marriage in Bajaur Agency, which runs counter to our recent findings in neighbouring Malakand district (Sthanadar et al., 2014). We would like to clarify an apparent misreading of our paper by Ahmad et al. In their Discussion, they indicated that the 66.4% (a = 0.0338) consanguineous marriage rate estimated in Malakand was based on the parents of children with hearing impairment. This is not the case. As stated in our paper, the study was conducted by male and female interviewers at household level in rural areas of Malakand between January 2011 and February 2013, as part of a population-wide investigation to assess the prevalence of childhood hearing impairment. The families studied were representative of the rural population as a whole, and not restricted to families with a hearing-impaired child. The reported consanguineous marriage rate in Malakand should therefore be interpreted from a population-wide perspective. It noes not represent the level of parental consanguinity in children with a hearing impairment.