By: MOHAMMAD HUSSAIN KHAN
HYDERABAD: A tribal court (jirga) held at the Circuit House here on Thursday evening settled a dispute over the honour killing committed in Aug 2012 when a young man and his pregnant wife were murdered by the woman’s family members and relatives.
Presided over by Mohammad Khan Junejo, a former Sanghar MNA and son of late PPP leader Shahnawaz Junejo, the jirga heard representatives of the Detho community on the one side and the Sheikh community on the other.
Ishtiaq Sheikh and Samia Detho (a resident of Mori Mangar village of Tando Hyder area) had married on their free will on Nov 18, 2011 and settled in Karachi after leaving the village on Oct 10, 2011.
The woman’s father, Ahmed Detho, traced them and stayed with them for some days. He persuaded the couple to accompany him to the village as his family had accepted their marriage.
The couple was brought to Hyderabad on August 23, 2012 and a few days later they were found murdered.
An FIR was lodged under sections 302, 364, 201, 109, 34, 120-B PPC and 6/7 of the Anti-Terrorism Act.
Mr Junejo conducted proceedings on the lawns of the Circuit House and then went inside to consult ‘patels’ (representatives) of the two sides before Jeay Sindh Qaumi Mahaz vice chairman Dr Niaz Kalani, who represented the deceased man’s family, announced the decree.
During consultations, Dethos’ representatives led by Haji Mohammad Khan Detho gave a confessional statement on behalf of the killers and said it was honour killing committed under the tradition of Karo-kari.
“The unborn baby was an illegitimate one resulting from adultery as Nikah was performed after the inception,” they argued. Ishtiaq Sheikh committed the crime first, something unacceptable in the Sindhi society’s cultural norms. He didn’t get consent of the parents of the girl, who eloped with him.
The Sheikh family also didn’t approach them to settle the issue amicably, the Dethos argued.
Ghulam Shabbir Detho, pleading his community’s case, said the Sheikh community got police raid conducted on Dethos’ houses.
A senior civil judge, Saleem Qambrani, who lived in the same village, involved himself in the matter and appeared before Mr Junejo.
Brother of deceased Ishtiaq, Ismail Sheikh claimed that Mr Qambrani influenced police investigation besides getting the phone call of the couple traced for Dethos.
“Mr Qambrani asked me to marry two girls of his family off to Dethos”, he claimed and said when the couple left the village, Dethos stormed his (Ismail’s) house and took away his brother’s wife and mother and kept them in wrongful confinement.
He said that Saleem Qambrani obstructed course of the investigation misusing his official position.
Mr Qambrani defended himself, saying that he faced two charges i.e. tracing phone calls of the couple and obstructing police in the discharge of their official duty during the investigation.
He admitted having asked police to show arrest warrant before raiding houses. He said that his son remained in jail for six to seven months for no crime of his.
He denied having told Ismail Sheikh to marry off two girls in Detho community.
Mian Abdullah Sheikh, representing the Sheikh community, insisted that he had conveyed to the judge the demand of two girls to be married to Dethos for reconciliation in the matter.
“Then I told you that I will talk to Sheikhs,” Abdullah said. Mr Junejo ruled that Saleem Qambrani had to face the charges only for his attitude otherwise he had not committed a crime. The judge would not take any action against complainant by filing a suit for damages, he said.
It is worth-mentioning here that the senior civil judge, according to the police, is booked on criminal conspiracy charges and is currently on pre-arrest bail. The case is pending a trial before the Anti-Terrorism Court, Hyderabad.
Announcing the jirga decree on behalf of Mr Junejo, Dr Niaz Kalani said a fine of Rs300,000 each is fixed for two offences on the part of deceased Ishtiaq Sheikh; one for marrying the girl without her parent’s consent, and second for violating social norms.
“This amount of Rs600,000 is settled against Dethos’ act of taking away Ismail’s mother and sister-in-law and keeping them in illegal confinement. A fine of Rs2.5 million each is imposed on the Detho community for murders of Ishtiaq Sheikh and the unborn baby. No penalty is, however, fixed for the woman’s murder as her parents are her heirs, who didn’t accept the marriage solemnised without their consent. The fine money will be paid to Mr Junejo within three months. The two sides will withdraw the cases,” the decree said.