ISLAMABAD: The case of 25-year-old Farzana, who was beaten to death by her family and others for marrying of her own free will, took another turn as police officers tried to save their colleagues from being blamed for negligence.
In its report to the Supreme Court, Punjab police claimed that Farzana was already married once before and had not disclosed that marriage before she wed Mohammad Iqbal, on whose behalf she was supposed to testify the day she was murdered outside the Lahore High Court.
The report was submitted in compliance with the May 30 orders of Chief Justice Tassaduq Hussain Jillani who had sought a comprehensive report into the gruesome murder after taking suo motu action on the matter. Farzana’s death has drawn widespread condemnation, both at home and abroad.
Police report to SC reveals Farzana was already married to her cousin
In his order, the chief justice had directed Punjab police to bring her killers to justice and punish any police officers who were present at the scene and yet did nothing, which was tantamount to abetting the murder.
In the report, Inspector General Khan Baig came to the rescue of his colleagues by explaining that at the time of the incident, no police personnel were deployed or present at the scene.
The nearest policemen were deployed was at the gate of the Lahore High court mosque and inside the Advocate General’s office, a few hundred yards from where the gruesome attack took place.
By the time they responded, the report said, it was already too late. Sub Inspector Arif, the only policeman who intervened, was not on duty and was, in fact, on his way to a hearing at the time.
The report says that the attack happened quite quickly on a busy road and since no policemen were on hand at the time, they were unable to prevent it.
Delving into the background of the case, the report reveals that the victim had married her cousin Mazhar two years ago, but later ran away from home to marry Mohammad Iqbal on Jan 7, 2014. The report claims that she never told Iqbal about her first husband.
Iqbal already stood accused of murdering his first wife Asha Bibi. A case was registered against him in October 2009 in Nankana Sahib and he was later declared a proclaimed offender. He was arrested on April 28, 2013 but was later released.
After she ran away with Iqbal, Farzana’s first husband registered another case at the Syedwala police station in Nankana Sahib, on the basis of which he was arrested again. Farzana then sought relief from a judicial magistrate in Pakpattan, who sent her to the local Darul Aman.
When Iqbal was released on bail, he recovered Farzana from the Darul Aman and filed a writ petition before the Lahore High Court, asking for the FIR against him to be quashed. Farzana was heading to court to record her statement in this matter when she was attacked and murdered.