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Honour killings : Human rights groups plead with authorities for protection of young couple

By Samia Saleem

Girl’s father, in cahoots with police, is threatening to kill the two to save family’s ‘honour’.

KARACHI: Nazia and Shahid, who are 18 and 20 years old respectively, originally hail from Ghotki. They eloped and reached Karachi after Nazia’s parents refused Shahid permission to marry their daughter. They were married at Civil Court, Malir, in Karachi in November 2010. After hearing the news of his daughter’s marriage, an enraged Ghulam Hussain Shahani, the father of the bride, filed a case of abduction against the groom, Shahid Ali, on January 23 in the Ghotki sessions court.

Ghulam Shahani is an influential figure in Ghotki and despite the fact that Shahid belongs to the same Shahani clan, he refused permission for his daughter to marry him, said the HRCP. Officials indicate that this was because Shahid’s family could not give a teenage girl to him in exchange for his consent.

It is alleged that Ghulam Shahani has a business partnership with Gul Hassan Lohar, the DSP of the area, and they run an illegal used-cars business which deals in stolen and smuggled vehicles from Iran. The DSP provides Ghulam protection and thereby he enjoys significant influence in the district, the human rights organisations claim.

Ever since Nazia and Shahid’s marriage was contracted, the family of the bride have been threatening Shahid’s family by saying that the couple would be killed to maintain ‘honour’. The fact that they enjoy the support of the police has only served to embolden them. The police have also been willing accomplices in crimes conducted against Shahid’s family.

These crimes started when the couple arrived in Ghotki to submit their marriage certificate in the sessions court and to respond to the fake abduction charge levelled on Shahid. News of their presence in the area was leaked to Ghulam Shahani and DSP Gul Hassan. Police officials subsequently raided Shahid’s house, where the couple was staying, accompanied by the DSP and members of Ghulam’s family.

In the raid members of Shahid’s family were allegedly beaten and their women were abducted. Upto Rs200,000 and five tolas of gold were taken from the house. The police arrested the couple and incarcerated them in an unknown place.

After the raid, two police officials allegedly contacted Shahid’s family and demanded a payment of Rs30,000 for the couple’s release, according to Shahid’s uncle Ali Gul.

This payment was made and the Ghotki police released the couple by throwing them blind-folded on the main Rohri bypass. Following his discharge, Shahid said that they were kept in a private detention centre at Salro Goth, where they were believed to be tortured. The police also took control of Shahid’s family house and farms and seized their entire wheat crop spread over seven acres of land. His family escaped to Karachi to avoid further threats to their life and property.

The couple reached Karachi where their plight was narrated to the AHRC and the HRCP. The human rights groups subsequently appealed to the government and the Supreme Court for protection and investigation into their case. Shahid’s grandmother also pleaded before the Ghotki District Police Officer, the highest ranking police official in the district, to help them. A case was then filed against the policemen who occupied their house and stole their crops and money, but the same officials conducted another raid at Shahid’s house to search for the couple. So far no arrests have been made.

While Nazia and Shahid are currently in Sukkur where their trial is being heard, Ghulam Shahani maintains that if he captures the couple then he shall burn them with his own hands.

Source: The Express Tribune

Date:5/2/2011

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