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Police officer dismissed for leaking information to terrorists : Report in Dawn, September 13th, 2017

KARACHI: The Sindh police authorities have dismissed a senior officer of the anti-terrorism wing for sharing “sensitive information with terrorists” while holding a key position in the law-enforcement agency, said a notification on Tuesday.

The notification issued by Additional IG Counter-Terrorism Department Sanaullah Abbasi announced the dismissal of Inspector Syed Ali Raza, who was heading the CTD Sectarian Terrorists Intelligence Group (STIG) with immediate effect.

Raza was accused of sharing “sensitive information” with “sector in-charge” of a political party named Umair Hassan Siddiqui, according to the notification, which referred to a history of the episode.

Siddiqui, it said, confessed before a joint investigation team that Raza was the man who had shared some key information with him while heading the CTD’s wing.
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Following his allegations, Raza was served a show-cause notice and asked to explain his position, it added.https://www.dawn.com/news/1357251/police-officer-dismissed-for-leaking-information-to-terrorists

September 13, 2017   No Comments

Interior ministry being evasive over enforced disappearances: NCHR: report in The News, Sept 13, 2017

Karachi: Expressing concern over enforced disappearances in the country, the chairman of the National Commission on Human Rights (NCHR) has accused the federal interior ministry of evading responsibility in some specific cases.

In certain cases, the commission contacted the interior ministry, but “they [interior ministry officials] evaded responsibility”, said retired justice Ali Nawaz Chowhan while addressing an emergency press conference at the offices of the NCHR on Tuesday afternoon.

He said the Frontier Corps in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa had been contacted but it asked for time to investigate the cases, saying they were “working on it”. Later, he said, came the reply, “We are not able to find them.”

Justice Chowhan said the mandate of the disappeared persons’ tribunal was very limited. He suggested the formation of an internal redressal system and said they should be allowed to contact that system. “They should tell us the reasons for detention/disappearance or otherwise.”

This, he said, would also expose “rogue elements” who, under cover of their government service, sought to wreak personal vendetta, thus disgracing the government. Justice Chowhan described enforced disappearances as a matter of great concern, emphasising that “we should try and rectify the situation at the earliest”.

He noted that Article 9 of the Constitution of the Islamic Republic of Pakistan was very clear on the matter of life and liberty. Besides, he said, fundamental rights were enshrined in the two international conventions, the International Convention of Civil and Political Rights and the International Convention on Economic Rights.

“Our policy is the protection and promotion of human rights and safeguarding them.” The NCHR chairman said the Quaid-e-Azam’s struggle since 1919 had been for the conservation of human rights and one of the major causes for the creation of Pakistan was the preservation of the human rights of the minority communities.

In this context, he quoted the Quaid’s speech to the first legislative assembly of Pakistan, on August 11, 1947, laying down the total equality and freedom of all groups inhabiting Pakistan. He stated that the 1973 Constitution of Pakistan also ensured safeguarding of all fundamental rights.

Justice Chowhan said the country was being disgraced overseas as there were daily reports on human rights violations being dispatched to other countries and international agencies. Pakistan, he reminded the mediafolk, had not ratified the treaty on disappeared persons. At this juncture, Begum Anis Haroon, the representative of Sindh on the NCHR, interjected to say that we must demand an explanation as to why the constitution was being violated.

There were some women, some with their little children, who had been waiting since morning to acquaint media persons with their ordeals. Saheerunissa Begum, wife of Muhammad Furqan Khan, said her husband, who was an employee of the KPT, was kidnapped by personnel of a security agency in 2015. “They blindfolded him and took him away,” she said.

Her son, Muhammad Imran Khan, said that he was an eyewitness to the kidnapping. He said his father was returning home from his shift on a scooter when they took him away. To date, he said, there was no trace of his father.

Saheerunnissa said they had been running from pillar to post to determine the fate of the head of the family, and had even approached the JIT, the commission on disappeared persons and the provincial task force on disappearances, but to no avail.

Fauzia Sultana said her husband was picked up by personnel of the same agency while he was on his way to an anti-terrorism court (ATC). She is the mother of two boys, 7 and 2. Her seven-year-old son had brought an enlarged photograph of his missing father.

Shaista said her husband, Shahzad Khan, was picked up on January 15, 2015, and to date his whereabouts were a mystery. She has three daughters and is living with her in-laws. She said she had been running from pillar to post to find out about the whereabouts of her husband, but to no avail.

She said the personnel of the security agency came over to their place at 3:30am, treated the inmates of the house in the gruffest of manner and herded her husband away. He was an employee of the Karachi Water and Sewerage Board.

Misbah Aadil, wife of Aadil Zafar, said her husband was an employee of the KPT. She said that since the enforced disappearance of her husband, her six-year- old son had become very violent and was always talking of avenging his father’s kidnapping.

The three common denominators among all the four women were that their husbands had been picked up as way back as 2015, had failed miserably to determine the husbands’ whereabouts and all of them broke down while narrating their horrid ordeals.

Justice Chowhan narrated cases of Tharparkar in eastern Sindh and the Kailash Valley in Chitral. In the former, he said, madrasas were coming up and none knew as to which agencies were behind their appearance. The government, he said, was absolutely supine in the matter.

Hate speeches, he said, were being openly made. Then he said, there were apprehensions about the proposed Gorano Dam, which was deemed to herald an environmental disaster. Forced conversions were going on in the area, he added. As for the Kailash Valley, he said that conversions were going on there too and the endeavour of the NCHR would be to allow the Kailsah their anthropological and historical identity. He suggested that the school education system for the area should be one which allowed them to retain their identity rather than forcibly absorbing them into the mainstream. https://www.thenews.com.pk/print/229553-Interior-ministry-being-evasive-over-enforced-disappearances-NCHR

September 13, 2017   No Comments

Pak Terrorism Scene – Sept 13, 2017

First bomb blast in NWA after Zarb-e-Azb kills one: Report in The News, Sept 13, 2017
MIRANSHAH: A tribesman was killed and four others were seriously injured when an improvised explosive device (IED) planted by unknown people in front of a private school went off at Danday Darpakhel village in North Waziristan on Tuesday.

The blast was heard in the nearby villages and caused concern among the recently returned tribespeople after their three years of displacement.

Government officials said it was the first bomb explosion after the much-publicised Zarb-e-Azb military offensive launched against the militants on June 15, 2014 in North Waziristan.

According to sources, the bomb was planted outside a private school.

“The people were busy in reconstruction and repair works of their damaged houses in Danday Darpakhel when the blast took place. One tribesman died on the spot and four others suffered injuries,” a government official said.

Pleading anonymity, he said the injured were later shifted to the Agency Hospital Headquarters Hospital in Miranshah where the doctors were reportedly utilizing all the available ?resources to save their lives.

It was not clear who could have planted the bomb as the security forces have been claiming that they have cleared North Waziristan of all the terrorists.

It was only three days ago when the government started repatriation of the displaced people of Danday Darpakhel. And that too when the displaced people living in Bannu, Kohat, Peshawar, Haripur, Abbottabad, etc, started holding protest against the government to demand that they should be sent back to their homes and villages.

The tribespeople of North Waziristan suffered heavy losses during the past three years. According to the tribespeople, most of their houses were damaged due to the military operation and seasonal rains as the ?residents were away from their houses for three years. https://www.thenews.com.pk/print/229633-First-bomb-blast-in-NWA-after-Zarb-e-Azb-kills-one

 

Blast kills one, injures another : Report in Dawn, September 13th, 2017

QUETTA: A man was killed and another injured in a bomb blast near a house in Nasao area of Kahan in Kohlu district on Tuesday.

Levies Force officials said that miscreants had planted a bomb alongside the wall of a house which went off resulting in the death a man and injuries to another. Personnel of the Frontier Corps shifted the injured and the body to a local hospital.

A senior Levies official said that the walls of the house were also damaged.

The body was handed over to the family after medico-legal formalities. No one has claimed responsibility for the explosion.https://www.dawn.com/news/1357351/blast-kills-one-injures-another

Big quantity of ammo seized, three held : Report in Dawn, September 13th, 2017

KOHAT: Police seized a big quantity of ammunition and gun which was being smuggled from Darra Adamkhel to Punjab on the Indus Highway and arrested three alleged smugglers here on Tuesday.

DSP Zahir Khan told a press conference that following a tip-off the police stopped a car at Muslimabad checkpost and during search recovered around 5,000 cartridges of different bores and a double-barrel gun from it. They also arrested the three alleged male smugglers who were wearing burqa and carrying children in their laps to dodge the police.

The suspects, identified as Qaiser Khan, Noorul Ameen and Mohammad Abid, were presented in the local court which remanded them in police custody for three days. A case has been registered against the three.

Meanwhile, the city police busted a gang of motorcycle thieves in an operation here on Tuesday.

A statement issued here said that SHO Fayyaz Khan raided a house in Mohallah Sikandar Shaheed and held one Adnan along with a dismantled motorcycle.

Later, he disclosed the name of the alleged mastermind, Shah Faisal, who was also arrested during a raid from his house in Nasratkhel along with a dismantled motorcycle.

They were taken to the city police station where FIR was registered against them. https://www.dawn.com/news/1357396/big-quantity-of-ammo-seized-three-held

 

 

September 13, 2017   No Comments

LeJ-Aalmi claims responsibility for attack on Rizvia Society policemen

Report in The News, Sept 13, 2017
Karachi: Though banned outfit Lashkar-e-Jhangvi Al-Aalmi (LeJ-Aalmi) has claimed responsibility for Monday night’s attack on a Rzivia Society police van in the Jahangirabad area on Monday night, Karachi police chief Mushtaq Mehar has said police investigators have ruled out the involvement of any jihadi element.

Talking to The News on Tuesday, the additional inspector general of police said the investigators were suspecting the involvement of street criminals in the incident. Elaborating on his statement, he said the street criminals may have fired shots at the police van to avoid arrest during snap checking.

Police constables Zeeshan Safdar and Siraj were injured when two men riding a motorbike opened fire on the police van during snap checking in Jahangirabad. Safdar was hit by a bullet on his face and Siraj suffered a wound to his hip. The condition of both cops was declared stable after treatment.

LJ-Alami spokesman Ali Bin Sufyan claimed in a statement on social media that the attack on the police van was carried out by the proscribed organisation’s special commandos of Afia Siddiqiui Brigade.

Rizvia Society police SHO Arshad Janjua said a case was registered at the Counter-Terrorism Department (CTD) police station under Section 7 of the Anti-Terrorism Act (ATA).

Responding to a question, Additional IG Mehar said that as per the standard operating procedure, cases of attacks on police or their martyrdom or injury as a result would be registered at the CTD police station.

He added that the investigation into the attack had showed that the police party carrying out snap checking had not been following the SOPs highlighted by the police department in the wake of attacks on police.

He said he had directed the station house officers of all police stations in the city to ensure implementation of the SOPs, warning that departmental action would be taken against them on account of negligence.https://www.thenews.com.pk/print/229556-LeJ-Aalmi-claims-responsibility-for-attack-on-Rizvia-Society-policemen

 

September 13, 2017   No Comments

Interior minister says Ansar ul Shariah largely been contained

Report in Pakistan Today, Sept 12, 2017
KARACHI: Federal Interior Minister Ahsan Iqbal on Tuesday said that Ansarul Shariah has largely been contained and the remaining members of the group will soon be nabbed by the law enforcement agencies (LEAs).

Addressing the media after visiting the headquarters of the Pakistan Coast Guards, he said that the group came to light after an attack on Muttahida Qaumi Movement (MQM) leader Khawaja Izhar on Eidul Azha, adding that the country will soon hear the good news of the group’s elimination.

Expressing dismay at the trend of university graduates joining terrorist organisations, he said that the media, government and parents of students need to play their part in resolving the issue. He added that he has directed the Higher Education Commission (HEC) to take concrete steps to ensure that students keep away from ideologies which promote terrorism and militancy.

He further highlighted that youth, having access to social media, fall prey to such groups which create sensational and motivational videos to lure such youngsters into the pit of militancy.

The federal minister, stressing on the importance of ensuring coastal security, also said that miscreants, terrorists and smugglers have used sea routes to conduct their activities in the past. Therefore, it was important for Pakistan to consolidate successes achieved against terrorism in the past four years, he added.

Earlier, security forces had a few days ago nabbed Pakistan Ansarul Shariah Chief Shehryar alias Dr Abdullah Hashmi, who worked as an IT (Information Technology) expert and was an employee of NED University in the computer department. He received his Master’s degree in Applied Physics from the Karachi University.

Group’s Commander Sarosh Siddiqui, also a student of Karachi University and the mastermind behind the attack on MQM leader, had escaped a police raid previously.

The group has been involved in multiple terrorist attacks in Karachi and Mastung, one of the initial ones being the murder of a retired army colonel. Police officials also believe that the banned outfit was behind several attacks on police officials in Karachi in the past few months and an IED blast targeting security forces in Mastung.

Later, talking to media at a college, the federal minister said that “census is a national matter and should not be politicised.”

Irregularities in the census were highly unlikely he said adding that the process was carried out on two levels, by civil and military authorities, which then reconciled their results.

“If anyone has spotted any irregularity they should point it out and it will be looked into. We should avoid politics on this because it is a national matter and we should have a national consensus on this,” the minister said, adding that the exercise was not biased towards a particular province.https://www.pakistantoday.com.pk/2017/09/12/interior-minister-says-ansarul-shariah-largely-been-contained/

September 13, 2017   No Comments

Time to deliver on minority rights: By Shahid Jatoi in The Express Tribune, September 13th, 2017.

The writer works for governance and rule of law with a national organisation
If the state has to deliver on the issue of minority rights, it must start paying more attention to their personal laws for marriage and post-marriage arrangements. Christians who constitute approximately 1.6 per cent of the population suffer because of discriminate and somewhat obsolete marriage and divorce laws. For far too long the state has ignored its citizens’ demand for dignified solemnising of marriages and various other post-marriage rights and responsibilities. The family laws of Christians are administered by four colonial-era acts such as the Christian Marriage Act of 1872, Divorce Act of 1869, Succession Act of 1925 and Births, Deaths and Marriages Registration Act of 1886.

Throughout history, however, the issue of solemnising marriages has been the exclusive domain of religious leaders and clergymen. However, the modern state is believed to have intensified its role in regulating marital relations mainly based on issues concerning succession of monarchs that later expanded it to matters of succession of legal heirs of all citizens. With this historical development, the dominant role of clergy has been reduced to performing religious rituals of marriages.

Successive governments in Pakistan amended laws enacted by colonial predecessors to meet the current governance needs of its citizens. These amended laws also included the marriage laws regulating marital relations. In this background, Muslim Personal Laws were widely reviewed in 1961 and changes were brought to The Muslim Family Law Ordinance, 1961 and The West Pakistan Family Courts Act of 1964, however only limited progress was made to update or provide for marriage laws relating to religious minorities. The Christian Personal Laws also met the same fate. In 1949, the Indian Divorce Act of 1869 was enforced in Pakistan for Christians after omitting the word ‘Indian’ by an amendment and the law stood as the Divorce Act of 1869 (Act IV of 1869).

This law regulating the divorce of Christian couples was primarily based on the theological position and interpretation of the Church that divorce is not permissible in Christianity except on the ground of adultery or only in case either spouse changes his or her religion. Several amendments were made during Zulfikar Ali Bhutto’s government through the Divorce (Amendment) Act of 1975 (4 of 1976), which got rid of several derogatory terms like “native” Christians. Similarly, the role of the high court as was the case before, was done away with. The jurisdiction to adjudicate issues relating to divorce and matrimonial issues was originally vested in district courts and the high courts. The Amendment Act omitted the former section 17 and conferred exclusive jurisdiction over the matters of this Act to the Civil Courts. The Divorce Act of 1869 also states the Code of Civil Procedure, 1908 to apply on proceedings mentioned in the Act.

In a similar amendment, the deletion of sections 16, 17, 17A and 20 from the act led to consequent amendments to sections 18 and 19 as well as section 57 to make a clear provision for either party to the marriage to marry again after a decree for dissolution or nullity of their marriage has been passed and time for appeal has expired or an appeal being presented has been dismissed.

However, the matter related with divorce grounds remained unattended. In Pakistan the situation was further worsened during 1981, when the then president, General Ziaul Haq, removed section 7 from the Divorce Act of 1869 through an ordinance called the federal laws (Revision & Declaration) ordinance 1981. This section provides Christian couples the right of divorce under the UK Matrimonial Causes Act of 1973. Currently, under the act, Christian marriage can be dissolved absolutely by divorce (Divortium Perfectum). It can also be dissolved by seeking decree of annulment of marriage that has consequence of marriage being void ab initio. The divorce law also provides for judicial separation which is not absolute divorce. Married couples are parted under it nonetheless the bond of marriage remains intact and the separated spouses cannot remarry.

Nevertheless, the existing grounds for seeking divorce provides unequal grounds of divorce to a husband and wife. For that reason, a husband can pursue divorce by accusing his wife of adultery and then also prove it. The wife can also seek divorce through a petition on the grounds of change of religion by her husband or if the husband has contracted another marriage under some other law. She can also supplicate for divorce on the grounds of adultery by her husband coupled with incest, or bigamy, or marriage with another woman, or of rape, sodomy or bestiality, or of cruelty, or of desertion. It is important to note that a wife cannot petition for divorce on the ground of her husband’s adultery alone. She cannot make a plea for divorce on the ground of cruel behaviour of her husband.

The other forms of dissolution, meaning nullity of marriage or divortium imperfectum, stipulate invalidating the marriage on grounds of impotency, prohibited decree relationship, lunacy and idiocy, existence of former marriage and vitiated consent. The decree of dissolution is in fact based on the declaration by a court that a marriage was void ab initio. Legally, the parties in wedlock are entitled to remarry when a marriage is annulled by a district judge.

Additionally, the spouses may look for judicial separation on the grounds of adultery, cruelty and desertion. This judicial separation shall have the effect of the ecclesiastical divorce and can be reversed. The spouses are not allowed to remarry any other individual.

In order to get separation, the parties in wedlock usually level false accusations of adultery to assert divorce and that too is often succeeded to get decree ex-parte. In 2015, a writ petition was filed by Amin Masih before the Lahore High Court wherein the he challenged the law of divorce for being “offensive and insulting” to women and requested the court to provide him and his wife a dignified way of separation without levelling adultery charges and change in religion. After due deliberation and seeking legal and citizens’ views, the LHC decided in the petitioner’s favour and restored section 7 of the Divorce Act of 1869 providing relief to Christian married couples to part ways, if they desire by invoking the UK Matrimonial Causes Act of 1973.

Many other marriage and post-marriage arrangements still need to be considered by the state through amendments to existing laws. The Christian Marriage Act permits marriages where either of the parties is minor (a person who has not attained the age of 21 years) with the consent of a father, mother or guardian. However, in case of marriage of a native Christian, the age at marriage was fixed to exceed 13 years for females and exceeding 16 years for males with the consent of a guardian. If the parties are getting married without the consent of a guardian, they must have attained 18 years of age. On the other hand, the Child Marriage Restraint Act of 1929 applicable in Punjab and The Child Marriage Restraint Act of 2013 applicable in Sindh set the minimum age of marriage for females and males at 16 and 18 years, respectively.

Another important issue is the absence of appropriate measures to register marriages of Christians. At the moment, due to the order of Supreme Court, the union councils are under duty of registering marriages, but there are still issues being observed in registrations. There should be some mechanism for registration on the part of a state department with clear rules. Likewise, the churches should also be bound to deposit marriage registers and marriage records in relevant union councils by bringing a legislative amendment.

On the occasion of International Women Day on March 8, 2017, the Punjab government took the initiative to include amending Christian Personal Laws into women empowerment package for the year 2017. In this background, the government mandated the Strategic Reforms Unit, the Punjab Human Rights and Minorities Affairs Department and the Women’s Development Department to consult stakeholders and make all-inclusive amendments to the centuries-old personal laws enacted by the British. However, there seems no significant development in this regard. A similar exercise is going on at the centre where the human rights ministry is holding a consultative process with community members, clergy and rights organisations to propose amendments to the said acts. https://tribune.com.pk/story/1504596/time-deliver-minority-rights/

September 13, 2017   No Comments

ATC indicts four for blasphemy on social media: Report in Dawn, September 13th, 2017

ISLAMABAD: An anti-terrorism court (ATC) on Tuesday charge sheeted four suspects for allegedly uploading blasphemous content on social media.

ATC Judge Shahrukh Arjumand indicted the suspects, who pleaded not guilty.

Subsequently, the court directed the Federal Investigation Agency (FIA) to produce evidence against them and adjourned proceedings until Sept 25.

The FIA has so far arrested four suspects in the matter, all of whom are in jail on judicial remand for their alleged involvement in the publishing of blasphemous content on social media.
The suspects were arrested on suspicion of sharing and spreading blasphemous content via social media. The ATC has already dismissed the bail plea of one of the suspects, a college professor, in the same case.

Earlier, the IHC heard a petition filed against the uploading of sacrilegious material targeting revered personalities on social media.

The suspects were arrested when the petition was pending before Islamabad High Court Justice Shaukat Aziz Siddiqui.

In his order, Justice Siddiqui had directed the federal government to amend the law in order to punish those who leveled false blasphemy accusations under the same law.
https://www.dawn.com/news/1357338/atc-indicts-four-for-blasphemy-on-social-media

September 13, 2017   No Comments

Strike observed in Quetta over cleric’s kidnapping

by Saleem Shahid in Dawn, September 13th, 2017
QUETTA: A strike was observed here and in the surroundings areas on Tuesday in protest against the kidnapping of provincial chief of Jamiat Ahle Hadees Maulana Ali Muhammad Turab, his son and two associates on gunpoint.

Maulana Turab was kidnapped, along with his son, secretary and guard, in the Airport Road area a few days ago. Police said the cleric’s vehicle was found abandoned in the Sheikh Manda area, near the same road.

Representatives of political parties, religious groups and traders’ organisations issued a call for the strike at a press conference held on Saturday. They also called for early recovery of the religious scholar and member of the Council of Islamic Ideology along with his son and associates.

All bazaars, shopping plazas, business centres and trade organisations remained closed throughout the day.
“We closed our business in protest against the abduction of the religious scholar and political leader,” said Shokat Ali, owner of a shop in the Jinnah Road market.

Even medical stores remained closed till afternoon, but hotels and tandoors were allowed to continue their business.

Shopkeepers and traders on the outskirts of the provincial capital also observed the strike.

Vehicular traffic remained thin in Quetta as people preferred to stay indoors.

The administration had made security arrangements by deploying heavy contingents of police, Levies and Frontier Corps at major points in the city in order to keep law and order situation under control.

No untoward incident was reported from any area of the provincial capital as security personnel continued to patrol the main streets and roads till late evening.
https://www.dawn.com/news/1357358/strike-observed-in-quetta-over-clerics-kidnapping

September 13, 2017   No Comments

Women of FATA village left stranded as all men of area imprisoned

report in Pakistan Today, Sept 13, 2017
A Kurram Agency village had all its men imprisoned under the collective responsibility clause of the Frontier Crimes Regulation (FCR).

This forced the women of the village to seek help from men of a neighbouring village for outdoor chores for three years, Geo News reported.

The men of the village were all put behind bars after a tribal leader was shot dead four years ago, a resident of the village told the news channel, adding the locals had to bear the brunt under the collective responsibility clause of the FCR as the accused had escaped the site.

The locking up of all the men of the village stranded the women in their houses, who could not step out for chores owing to the tribal customs which deem it to be disrespectful for women to go out to the bazaars alone.

As a result, the women of the village (Kinkot Kalay) had to seek men in the neighbouring village to get outdoor chores done for them, the local said.

The practice, he added, went on for nearly three years until recently when the men of Kinkot Kalay were released after the arrest of the accused.

The practice of holding tribal people responsible under the FCR is so common that 80 per cent of the inmates in the jails of FATA are imprisoned based on the same law.

There are also those who have been behind bars under the FCR for multiple times in their life time.

One of the residents of Parachinar Dildar Hussain Janjal has been to jail 45 times; he was charged by the FCR.

It is pertinent to mention here that during a Cabinet session chaired by Prime Minister Shahid Khaqan on Tuesday, a draft was presented for the new bill of FATA Reforms, promising abolishment of the FCR and extension of the judicial system to FATA to bring tribal people at par with the rest of the country.

The development comes as a ray of hope for the people of FATA who were introduced to FCR during the British Raj. https://www.pakistantoday.com.pk/2017/09/13/fcr-law-women-of-fata-village-left-stranded-as-all-men-of-area-imprisoned/

September 13, 2017   No Comments

Stop sanctioning murder: edit in The Express Tribune, September 13th, 2017.

It is highly unusual for honour crime victims to be electrocuted but that is probably what caused the recent deaths of a 15-year-old bride and 17-year-old groom in a neighbourhood of Karachi. The teenage couple, according to police investigations, were tied separately to a charpoy and given electric shocks by members of their own families — all because they dared to elope and contract a free-will marriage. Confirmation will come only after their bodies are exhumed for a postmortem examination on September 13th (Wednesday) under the supervision of a magistrate and a medico-legal officer. The punishment is believed to have been sanctioned by a jirga or a council of elders who described the couple’s elopement as an act that brought dishonour upon their families. The bodies of the two victims were secretly buried in a graveyard in Sherpao Colony. Not even an attempt at pretense was made to show the two had an accidental death.

The role of the police is perhaps one of the bright spots in the case. For once law enforcers seemed to have acted swiftly and fearlessly guided by their professional instincts, rather than short-term pecuniary gains. The fathers of the two victims as well as some other family members were rounded up and they promptly confessed to their crime and the jirga’s ruling. Not surprisingly the members of the 30-man jirga have gone into hiding.

Honour crimes are virtually unstoppable in rural settlements of the city and despite last year’s legislation that recommended a 25-year jail term for those who commit such murders the number of female and male victims continues to swell. More than 500 people are killed in the country over mistaken notions of honour every year.https://tribune.com.pk/story/1504582/stop-sanctioning-murder/

September 13, 2017   No Comments