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Woman sent to shelter house

PESHAWAR, January 13,2005: A district and sessions judge here on Wednesday sent a woman to a shelter home after she refused to accompany her husband.

District and Sessions Judge Hayat Ali Shah directed that the woman, Musarrat Bibi, should remain in Mera Ghar run by the Aurat Foundation till a decision in her case was announced.

The court further ordered that during her stay in the shelter house only Musarrat Bibi’s mother and husband could meet her and proper psychiatric and religious counselling would be provided to her at the shelter house.

“After the counselling the woman will be in a better position to decide whether she want to go with her mother or to stay with her husband,” the court observed. The order was issued in a habeas corpus petition filed under section 491 of the Criminal Procedure Code by the mother of Ms Musarrat, Hidayat Bibi, who claimed that her daughter was being kept in illegal confinement by her husband.

Noor Alam advocate appeared for the petitioner and contended that Musarrat Bibi married Iftikhar Ali about one year ago. However, the couple could not get along and Musarrat Bibi returned to her mother’s house after three months.

The counsel stated that Iftikhar Ali visited Hidayat Bibi’s house and forcibly took away Musarrat Bibi. On court’s order, Musarrat Bibi was produced before the judge. A union council Nazim, Pir Fida, and some other lawyers tried to arrange a compromise between the couple but she refused to accompany her husband.

Iftikhar Ali stated that he loved his wife and could not live without her. He added that his mother-in-law was trying to force his wife to leave her house and live with her mother.

The resident director of Aurat Foundation, Rukhshanda Naz, appeared on court’s order and informed the judge about the shelter home. She stated that psychiatric and religious counselling was provided to destitute women who took refuge in Mera Ghar.

The court observed that it would be appropriate to keep the woman there till such time when she was in a position to make a proper decision regarding her future. Hidayat Bibi hit the headlines in April 1997 when she killed her husband Khaista Khan and a police ASI Roshan Khan at her residence in the Ghareebabad area.

She was later convicted by a district and sessions judge in 1998 and was sentenced to about two months prison-term as she had committed the double-murder in self defence. She had alleged that her husband was forcing her to lead an immoral life and brought the ASI home and wanted her to give him company.
Source: Dawn
Date:1/13/2005

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