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Uproar in Senate over burying of women alive

ISLAMABAD, Sept 1: The Senate strongly condemned on Monday the burying alive of five women in Balochistan in the name of family honour and demanded severe punishment of people who committed the crime.

The senators expressed serious concern over what they called a deliberate hush-up of the killing and then its attribution to Baloch tribal traditions. Saying that there was no such tradition in the Baloch society they urged the government to ensure that such crimes were not committed in future.

The government presented a report which gave a ‘twist’ to the incident by changing the burying of the women alive into the killing and then burying and said it was the result of a land dispute and not a case of honour killing as had been reported.

Prime Minister’s Adviser on Interior Rehman Malik informed the house that according to the local police report three women — Fauzia, Fatima and Jannat Bibi — had been killed following a land dispute.

However, he pointed out that the IG Balochistan had a different version and he said that the three women had been taken in a taxi to some place and brought back the following day and gunned down and buried.

The adviser did not mention the incident as of ‘burying alive’. But, he assured the house that the culprit(s) would be punished in accordance with the law.

He said the Balochistan High Court had already taken suo moto notice of the incident and justice would be done.

“We have rejected a preliminary report and sought a detailed report. The killing for honour is not confined to only Balochistan; such incidents also take place in other provinces.” The house unanimously adopted a resolution condemning the incident. It was moved by Yasmeen Shah and Wasim Sajjad of the PML-Q. Senators in their speeches criticised Senator Mir Israrullah Zehri’s statement that the incident was part of Baloch tribal traditions.

The resolution said: “This house strongly condemns the gruesome incident of killing/burying alive of five Baloch women and demands meting out stern punishment to those involved in the crime.”

Acting chairman of Senate Jan Mohammad Jamali, who appeared perturbed over what he called ‘out of proportion’ coverage to the incident, said: “It is not a matter of mere sloganeering. It pertained to five women. The media gave the matter such a colour as if heavens have fallen.”

Leader of the House Raza Rabbani urged Mr Jamali to send the matter to the house committee on human rights which might co-opt the parties having no representation in it to visit the area and investigate the incident and report back to the house.

Earlier, Haji Mohammad Adeel of the ANP said: “We hold Baloch Sardars in high esteem but we cannot allow anyone to bury women alive.”

Prof Khurshid Ahmed of Jamaat-i-Islami said no jirga or tradition allowed killing women in such a manner. He demanded a judicial inquiry into the incident.

Maulana Abdul Ghafoor Haideri of the JUI-F attributed the incident to the so-called women protection bill and proposed necessary amendments to the law.

Abdul Rahim Mandokhel of the Pakhtunkhwa Milli Awami Party said: “All decisions should be made in accordance with the law of land.”

Ishaq Dar of the PML-N deplored the remarks of some lawmakers mingling the violation of law with tribal traditions.
Source: Dawn
Date:9/2/2008

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