ISLAMABAD: A teenage girl who was shot three times in an attempted honour killing was operated on at the Pakistan Institute of Medical Sciences (Pims) on Thursday.
Police have claimed efforts to arrest the murder suspect are ongoing, while human rights activists have suggested the case should be proceeded against under the law on honour killings to prevent the chance of pardon or settlement.
On Wednesday, the Human Rights Commission of Pakistan (HRCP) wrote to the National Commission on Human Rights (NCHR) regarding an attempted honour killing in the capital.
A letter sent to the NCHR stated that a girl between the age of 16 and 17 was shot three times on June 9, allegedly by her cousin, in the Nilore village. It said the victim’s father – who was from Khyber Pakhtunkhwa but settled in Nilore village – had decided to marry her off to a man much older than her seven months ago, but the victim left home with a boy from a local community.
Human rights activists call for case to be proceeded against under honour killing law
Four days later, the letter said, the couple were caught in Khanna Pul and brought home, where the girl was beaten and locked inside. On June 9, she was allegedly shot by her cousin, who then fled. Her father filed an FIR with the Nilore police the same day, but the suspect has not been arrested.
On Thursday, the girl was operated on and a bullet in her throat was removed successfully. Pims Vice Chancellor Dr Javed Akram told Dawn that while her condition has improved, the patient is not out of danger yet.
He said it would take almost a week before she is allowed to record her statement, as she would need to be fully conscious and cognisant for her statement to be recorded.
The chairman of the Tumair union council, Raja Qaiser Ghaffar, whose constituency is adjacent to Nilore, told Dawn the victim was shot three times – once in the throat, once in the chest and once in the ribs.
“It seems like a planned murder attempt, because after the incident, efforts began to ignore [it]. Police were not being pushed to arrest the culprits. However, now it is expected that the police will begin serious efforts to arrest the suspect,” he said.
National Commission on the Status of Women (NCSW) Chairperson Khawar Mumtaz said such cases should be tried under the law that deals with murders in the name of honour.
“Bill of the law was tabled by Senator Sughra Imam, which was passed by the Senate but could not sail through the National Assembly. However, the bill was passed during a joint session held in 2016 and became law,” she said.
She said: “The law is very effective, as it declares honour killing to be deliberate murder. It does not give an option for forgiveness, compromise or pardon for the accused,” she said.
Islamabad Human Rights Commissioner Chaudhry Mohammad Shafique told Dawn that although the police have claimed efforts are being made to arrest the suspect, he had a gut feeling the murder was planned.
“As the girl left her house and went with a boy, there could be a possibility that the family waited seven months and then killed her. Moreover, I have been informed that the accused was the brother of the person who was going to marry the girl. So there is possibility that a case has been built that the accused killed the girl because his brother’s fiancé left the house and became matter of embarrassment for him,” he speculated.
“We contacted Pims’ doctors on Thursday, but they said that although the girl was shifted to the ICU after the operation, she was not in a position to record her statement. We will wait for approval from the doctors. On the other hand, the police have assured [us] the accused will be arrested soon,” he said.
NCHR Chairman retired Justice Ali Nawaz Chohan told Dawn a report has been sought from the police, and the case has been fast-tracked.
“Despite that it will take at least three to four days to reach to a conclusion [on whether] it was a planned murder or not,” he said.