Consanguinity and Its Sociodemographic Differentials in Bhimber District, Azad Jammu and Kashmir, Pakistan

Nazish Jabeen, Sajid Malik

Abstract


Kashmiri population in the northeast of Pakistan has strong historical, cultural and linguistic affinities with the neighbouring populations of upper Punjab and Potohar region of Pakistan. However, the study of consanguineous unions, which are customarily practised in many populations of Pakistan, revealed marked differences between the Kashmiris and other populations of northern Pakistan with respect to the distribution of marriage types and inbreeding coefficient (F). The current descriptive epidemiological study carried out in Bhimber district of Mirpur division, Azad Jammu and Kashmir, Pakistan, demonstrated that consanguineous marriages were 62% of the total marriages (F=0.0348). First-cousin unions were the predominant type of marriages and constituted 50.13% of total marital unions. The estimates of inbreeding coefficient were higher in the literate subjects, and consanguinity was witnessed to be rising with increasing literacy level. Additionally, consanguinity was observed to be associated with ethnicity, family structure, language, and marriage arrangements. Based upon these data, a distinct sociobiological structure, with increased stratification and higher genomic homozygosity, is expected for this Kashmiri population. In this communication, we present detailed distribution of the types of marital unions and the incidences of consanguinity and inbreeding coefficient (F) across various sociodemographic strata of Bhimber/Mirpuri population. The results of this study would have implication not only for other endogamous populations of Pakistan but also for the sizeable Kashmiri community immigrated to Europe.

Key words: Consanguinity; Cousin marriages; Inbreeding coefficient; Population; Azad Jammu and Kashmir


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