By: Fazal Khaliq
MINGORA: When Shahida was seven, she was married off to a 19-year-old boy as part of a watta satta (bride exchange). As violating as a child marriage can be, she probably did not foresee physical torture as a part of her everyday life. Yet, 11 years later, after regular helpings of psychological abuse and battering, Shahida experienced the kind of violence most people only hear about.
May 16 could have been another day of ‘routine’ beating but it changed tenor quickly as her husband Sahibzada tied her up to a chair and started pummelling her. “He then cut at my nose, chopped it off. It didn’t stop there; his mother joined him and kept beating me for two days,” Shahida told The Express Tribune inside the office of Khwando Jirga, Saidu Sharif. She was then kept a prisoner in her own home for weeks, beaten up as she had been for 11 years, shared Shahida.
11 years, 19 days
After cutting off her nose, Sahibzada handed her a gun, claimed the disfigured teenager. “He told me to kill my father and then pin the blame of my facial disfigurement on him,” said Shahida.
However, on her 19th day in captivity, Shahida managed to escape, but without her one-and-a-half-year-old son. She snuck out around midnight and ran to her parents’ house, which she reached early morning. After hearing her ordeal, her parents rushed her to Saidu Sharif Hospital from where she was referred to Hayatabad Medical Complex.
Shahida has undergone two surgeries at HMC in the short span of one and a half month. Her third surgery has been scheduled to take place after Ramazan.
No end in sight
“I had to borrow Rs150,000 – which I will be paying back to different people with interest – to pay for her treatment,” said Shahida’s father, Zaid. The amount has already been spent and Zaid has no money left for further medical expenses.
Shahida and her parents allege when they filed an FIR against the accused, the police started taking Sahibzada’s side instead of punishing him.
According to Shahida’s mother Bakth-e-Raja, the family has asked the chief justice of Pakistan and both federal and provincial governments for justice, for the accused to be punished for his brutal crime. They have also appealed to the government to give Shahida custody of her son as he is still at his father’s house.
When contacted, Kabal DSP Bakht Raaj said they have arrested the culprit and he will soon be presented in court for the crime he has committed.