SUKKUR: The husband of an NGO worker, who was killed in Ghotki, confessed to killing her after declaring her ‘kari’, the police claimed. At a protest to condemn the murder, NGO workers denied this was an ‘honour killing’.
Victim Sahiba Mirani was married to Ali Muhammad Mirani nearly three years ago. Soon after, the couple developed differences and she left his house. Ali tried to reconcile with her during this time but she always refused. Mirani lived with her mother until her death three weeks ago, after which she mended her relationship with her husband and moved in with him.
“Sahiba looked very happy and content since the reunion with her husband,” said Sania Rasheed, the district in-charge of Takhleeq Foundation, where Sahiba also worked. “She was a simple woman who never even bothered to put on makeup before coming to the office,” her colleague recalled.
On the day of the murder, Sania and Sahiba had returned from some field visits when Sahiba told her that she was waiting for her husband to pick her up. “She looked happy about an outing that her husband promised,” Rasheed remembered. Sahiba was still waiting for her husband when everyone left, she said, adding that they heard about the murder only half an hour after that. “I cannot forget the huge smile she gave when she told me she was going for an outing.”
Sahiba had worked for women’s rights with other organisations as well and was well-known in the area. Her murder sent shockwaves in the industry and several women took to the streets in protest. “Since her murder, there is a sense of insecurity prevailing among all activists,” Sania admitted. “I am afraid that several parents will pull out their daughters from this profession.”
On Monday, several activists, a majority of whom were women – protested Sahiba’s murder. Led by Sania Rasheed and Pakistan Muslim League – Nawaz Ghotki women wing president Raheela Shar, the protesters shouted slogans against the brutal murder of their colleague. Marching through the main road, the protesters gathered outside the police station, where they staged a sit-in for an hour.
The protesters felt the police were showing conventional slackness in the case. Later, the protesters also marched to the press club. Sania feared the case may be painted as a case of ‘karo-kari’ and the culprits will walk free.
Ghotki police, on the complaint of Sahiba’s brother Ramzan Mirani, have lodged an FIR against three men, including her husband Ali and two unidentified men. Assistant head constable Altaf told The Express Tribune that they arrested Ali but have yet to recover the murder weapon. The accused claimed that his wife was having an affair with someone and that is why he killed her, ASI Gul Muhammad Abro, who is investigating the case, told The Express Tribune.
Investigations also revealed that Sahiba had Rs1 million in her bank account and her husband wanted to steal the money. “He took her ATM, her national and office identity cards,” Abro said, adding that Sahiba was of good character and her husband is lying that she was having an affair.
A few of Ali’s relatives saw him taking his wife somewhere on a motorcycle, the police said. Abro admitted that the case is not simple as Sahiba was someone who used to work for the welfare of women and may have made enemies in the profession also. “We are taking utmost care in solving this case.”