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Involvement of victim’s husband alleged: Murder over girl’s birth

GUJRAT, July 6: The Danish police arrested and then released on bail the husband of Tahira, a Danish citizen killed by her brother-in-law at Jaurra village, Kharian tehsil, on June 19, allegedly for giving birth to her third daughter, after an uncle of the victim nominated him in the FIR, it has been learnt.

The victim’s uncle Mushtaq Ahmad, who has spent 44 years in Europe, told Dawn that Tahira’s husband Shahbaz, living in Copenhagen, had been arrested by Danish police after he was nominated in the FIR, and was kept in custody for three days but was later released on bail as Pakistani authority did not provide them with some necessary information regarding the case.

Mushtaq strongly rejected the allegations leveled against Tahira regarding her character, saying the blame of being immoral on her was all rubbish and an attempt to tarnish family honour. “I have stressed confidently that I will withdraw the case if any one proves she was immoral,” said Mushtaq, adding that his family would take back the two daughters of Tahira from her in-laws. “We want justice now. The police have challaned only one accused, while we want all the nominated accused to be challaned,” he added.

Samaara Ahmed, a cousin and friend of Tahira, said: “Tahira was a woman of good character. She was born and educated in Denmark and graduated from a college there.”

Ms Samaara said Tahira was married to Shahbaz according to her grandmother’s will. Shahbaz’s family was poor and after marriage Tahira sponsored him for Denmark. Tahira had two daughters, Zainab (6) and Noor Fatima (4), while she gave birth to a mentally retarded son who died six months after his birth.

“The behaviour of Tahira’s in-laws changed after her son’s death. They had been forcing her to have a boy. How she could make it possible? They are illiterate people,” said Samaara.

She said Tahira would often share her plight with her, complaining of physical as well as mental torture at the hands of her in-laws.

“Soon after getting the permanent visa, Shahbaz sent Tahira with two daughters back to Pakistan against her will three years ago. She would frequently request her husband to take her to Denmark before their passports expired,” said Samaara. She added that Tahira and Shahbaz had bought joint life insurance policy, alleging he masterminded her murder to get the insurance amount.

She demanded the Danish government should take the daughters back from her in-laws and again arrest Shehbaz.

Inspector Mohammad Shehbaz Cheema, an inquiry officer of Kharian Sadar police also said according the investigations so far Tahira was not murdered for honour. “I have inquired the villagers who contradicted the allegation leveled by Faisel Bashir,” said Cheema.

Shoukat Toppa, the former inquiry officer, said that immediately after the murder Shahbaz’s family was looking quite composed and there were no signs of grief or remorse in the house. “In villages people cry even when their cattle die but the mother-in-law of Tahira was puffing at her hookah while making tea,” said Shoukat.

The officer added that Faisel was a habitual drinker and had divorced his wife, who was his cousin, while his second wife had left him three months ago. “We got no evidence to prove Faisel’s allegation that Tahira had a bad character. Everybody I contacted had rejected the accusation,” he added.

On the other hand, victim’s mother-in-law Maqsood Begum claimed Tahira was happy with her in-laws. She apparently appreciated Tahira, saying she was a good daughter-in-law. “She was like a sister to me. I called her my sister, instead of daughter-in-law. She was given due respect in the house,” Maqsood claimed.

She distanced herself from Faisel’s statement about Tahira’s character, saying: “This is between God and Faisel, but she (Tahira) was a good woman as far as I know.” Tahira’s other brother-in-law, Teimoor Ahmed, also supported his mother’s statement. Maqsood Begum also denied Tahira was being pressurized for giving birth to a boy and that insurance money could be a motive in her murder.

DPO Tahir Alam said he could not say anything till the completion of investigation.
Source: Dawn
Date:7/7/2008

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