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Domestic violence: Police refuse to register case of tortured woman

LAHORE: The Harbanspura police have not yet registered a case against a husband who tortured and tried to kill his wife a week ago. The woman is struggling for her life at the Services Hospital while the police are working for reconciliation between the two.

Arifa (24), mother of two, was tortured by her husband, Muhammad Iqbal, on April 8 for alleged illicit relations. She had filed a lawsuit for divorce about three months ago, but Iqbal pressured her to withdraw the case, saying that otherwise he would kill her and the two daughters.

Arifa’s mother, Shamim Akhtar, told Daily Times that Arifa had been married to Iqbal about nine years ago. She said that it was not known before the marriage that he was a permanent drug and liquor addict. “Iqbal did nothing to make a living and every now and then verbally and physically attacked Arifa. Tired of the situation, about three months ago, she came back to us and filed a lawsuit for divorce. After the case had been filed, Iqbal repeatedly threatened to kill her and the two daughters. Ultimately, the case was withdrawn and she was reconciled with him,” she said.

She said on April 8, Iqbal came home drunk late at night and tied Arifa up with ropes and electric wires. He then began to cut her all over her body, especially her torso, and began to crush her head with bricks. “Arifa kept begging him to leave her, but he did not listen and said that he was teaching her a lesson for going to court and also for having illicit relations with lawyers and policemen. He beat her and raped her repeatedly in front of the two daughters. In the end, he poured liquor on her cuts bruises and left her screaming, and she later fainted,” she said.

Shamim said that in the morning Iqbal came to her and said he had killed Arifa. “We rushed to his house and found her smeared in blood, almost dead,” she said. Arifa’s sister said that when they entered the house, Iqbal attacked them with bricks, but they ran away and informed the police on their emergency helpline (15).

Arifa is now struggling for her life in the Neuro-Surgical Ward of the Services Hospital. She is on sedatives and when she comes to her senses, she screams, “Please don’t hurt me; please stop beating me.”

Police want reconciliation: A week has passed and the victim is still struggling for her life in hospital, but no case has been registered so far. Harbanspura police station Moharrar Nasir said a case had not been registered because the victim had not given a statement and nor had the hospital given a medico-legal statement. “We are trying to reconcile the two families and have called them today [Tuesday],” he added.

Hospital fails to issue medico-legal statement: Arifa’s family members told Daily Times on Tuesday that they had repeatedly asked the hospital authorities to issue a medico-legal statement so that a case could be registered, but that so far the hospital had not given the statement. The Services Hospital medical superintendent was not available for comment.

NGOs condemn the instance and are ready to take up case: Nighat Said Khan, the chief executive of the Applied Socio-Economic (ASR) Research Centre, said ASR would immediately send an investigation team to probe the matter and would make every possible effort to get justice for the victim. “It is appalling that such instances of violence have become commonplace. No matter who is in government, there is no end to the abuse of women,” she said, and added that Pakistanis had collectively failed to change the mindset of society.

South Asia Partnership’s (SAP) Naeema Malik said that SAP would investigate the matter and would work to sensitise the media on the issue so that justice could be provided to Arifa.

The 2007 annual report of Human Rights Commission of Pakistan, says that there were at least 131 instances of domestic violence against women during that year, most of them by in-laws. According to the report, a World Bank survey, revealed that one fifth of women were physically hurt by their husbands.
Source: Daily Times
Date:4/16/2008

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