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Couple threatened for marrying of their own will

KARACHI – A lawfully married couple from Moro who are both doctors and facing life threats have surfaced in Karachi after being in hiding for 10 months and appealed to the Sindh High Court (SHC) to take suo moto notice of their plight.

The dejected couple, Dr. Ghulam Mustafa Solangi, 45, and Dr. Aamnat Mustafa Solangi, 44, both belonging to the Solangi tribe and residents of Moro, district Naushero Feroze, appeared before media persons at a press conference at the Karachi Press Club on April 20.

The couple narrated how the Jirga decision and the abduction FIR filed by the woman’s brother, Mir Muhammad Solangi, had made their lives miserable. Mir Muhammad is an Advocate and President, Moro Bar Council, UC Nazim, Chairman of the Public Safety Commission, who has left no stone unturned to make things difficult for the couple. It is to be noted here that Moro comes under the feudal jurisdiction of the Jatois.

A week earlier, in an exclusive meeting with this correspondent, Dr. Mustafa cried helplessly over his father’s death. A doctor having seen death so many times was recalling his father, who died few days ago and he couldn’t even attend his funeral. However, other family members managed to attend the last rites under strict security arrangements.

“It is the height of prejudice that despite submitting a constitutional petition on August 23, 2003, to the effect that I have married Dr. Ghulam Mustafa Solangi of my own free will and feel threatened by my three brothers, an FIR was lodged on September 18, 2003, claiming Dr. Mustafa (husband) and his brothers to have abducted me,” said Dr. Aamnat.

However, the FIR was declared ‘false’ under ‘Clause b’ of the Pakistan Penal Code by a bench of the Sindh High Court. However, even after that the concerned Police served the couple a challan and this action again came under attack. As a consequence of the probe into filing of a bogus FIR, the SSP, Investigation, suspended ASI Ghulam Mujtaba Almani and ASI Nisar Ahmed Mughal on charges under Criminal Conspiracy and Corrupt Reports Act and for serving the challan.

During the first hearing of their case on October 23, 2003, at the Sindh High Court, Mr. Justice Sarmad Jalal Usmani noted in his observations “this is the case of the worst type of prejudice, false sense of pride, and male chauvinism. It appears that the family of Dr. Aamnat not approving of her marriage to applicant No 1, Dr. Ghulam Mustafa Solangi, are out to undo the marriage by any means whatsoever.”

The couple fled to Karachi on August 9, 2003 after constant pressure and threats in Moro. Even Karachi didn’t turn out to be a haven for them as during a hearing at the Sindh High Court on October 23, 2003, they narrowly escaped a murder attempt outside the office of their lawyer, Abdul Ghafoor Mangi, who belongs to Khairpur. Fearing for their lives, both husband and wife, escaped to Islamabad and Northern Areas and remained there for nearly five months.

It is not only that the family of Dr. Aamnat is after the couple. The Jirga has also given a verdict against Dr. Mustafa for lawfully marrying a person of his choice. The Jirga has demanded Rs2 million and two women from the family of Dr. Ghulam Mustafa Solangi, accusing him of abducting Dr. Aamnat on November 30, 2002.

The situation has now taken an ugly turn as the entire family of Dr. Mustafa are being hounded and many of them have been forced to quit their hearths and homes and shift to Karachi.

Dr. Solangi proposed to Dr. Aamnat in 1998 and after a long courtship and ardent interceding by Noor Khatoon, the mother of Dr. Aamnat, they got married in Karachi on November 30, 2002. The brothers vehemently opposed the marriage. Dr. Aamnat being a post-graduate from the Nawabshah Medical College, had a flourishing private practice in Moro. Her brothers had plans to live off her prosperity and so they opposed the match tooth-and-nail, charges Dr. Aamnat. She said, “they have kept all my hard earned money, car, and other property and have also sold my medical centre in Moro for a paltry amount.”

Being Grade-18 officers and highly educated citizens of Pakistan, the couple demands assistance from the President of Pakistan, the Governor and the Chief Minister of Sindh, for protection, early hearing, and speedy justice. Despite a regular follow-up of the case by the couple, the hearings have been delayed for unexplained reasons. They also demand proper legislation and implementation of laws so that this evil can be purged from society.

Despite considerable hue and cry against the inhuman practice of Karo Kari, these morbid traditions continue to hold sway. There are numerous heart-rending accounts of such couples all over Pakistan, a product of the tradition of Karo Kari, Swara, and Walwar. The major consensus among the public and the major qualm that pervades society is that if people as educated and affluent as the Solangis fail in their search for justice then what recourse is available to the illiterate and disempowered women of the rural community. They continue to writhe in the centuries’ old customs and traditions.

It would be important to note here that during the year 2003, 1261 cases of honour killing were reported. Of these, 930 were committed against women, 316 against men, eight against female children, and seven against male children.
Source: The News
Date:4/21/2003

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