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Married woman languishes in private jail as Kari

By Shahid Husain

Karachi: The life of a married woman, Mukhtar Bibi alias Begum, is under threat after a “Jirga” declared her as “kari” and her husband Ghulam Mustafa Mugheri as “karo”, and she is now languishing in the private jail of Sardar Ahmed Chandio in Qambar in interior Sindh, The News has learnt.

“In 2005, I married Mukhtar Bibi alias Begum,” her husband Ghulam Mustafa Mugheri told The News. “She was a divorcee,” he said.

“At the time of our marriage, my father-in-law Haji Mashooq Chandio was in Saudi Arabia as he had been implicated in a drug case. However, he was released on Sept 17, 2005 and came back to Pakistan,” Mugheri said.

“He demanded Rs65,000 from me, that I somehow managed to pay, despite the fact that I was working as a labourer in Tapal Tea,” he said. “After a couple of months, he demanded Rs60,000 again, and I had to refuse,” he said.

“On August 23, 2009, my father-in-law came to my house in Mehran Town, Korangi along with five or six persons, and kidnapped my wife at gun point,” he said. “They were riding in a black-coloured Alto car and a yellow cab,” he said.

Mugheri went to his father-in-law’s house in Jamshoro along with a copy of the Holy Quran and his 9-day-old son, and requested his father-in-law to hand over his wife. Chandio, however, replied that had Mugheri not come with the Holy Quran, he would have shot him dead.

On Sept 27, 2009, Mugheri filed a petition in the Sindh High Court (SHC) for the recovery of his wife, following which the honourable court ordered police to raid his father-in-law’s house and recover his wife.

In a letter dated Oct 13, 2009 and addressed to the Larkana deputy inspector general of police, the SHC registrar wrote: “I am directed to enclose herewith an application made by one Ghulam Mustafa s/o Ali Hassan Mugheri and to state that the Hon’ble Chief Justice has been pleased to direct that the same may be forwarded to you for necessary action, in accordance with law.”

Despite the orders, the police have thus far failed to recover Mugheri’s wife. “My father-in-law told the raiding police party that Mukhtar Bibi has been shifted to Qambar, where a ‘Jirga’ held by Sardar Ahmed Chandio declared her a Kari,” Mugheri said.

Mugheri claimed that his wife was languishing in the private jail of Sardar Ahmed Chandio and her life was under threat. He further said that she tried unsuccessfully to escape from the jail three or four times. “On Oct 26, my father-in-law and his accomplices also tried to kidnap me from the Sindh High Court but police saved me,” Mugheri said.

The distressed man has also sought the help of the Human Rights Commission of Pakistan (HRCP) for the recovery of his wife, and to save both their lives. In a letter addressed to the HRCP, he wrote that he was a poor labourer and was legitimately married to Mukhtar Bibi. However, they had been declared as “Karo” and “Kari” by Chando.

“Karo-Kari” is a compound term, which literally means “black male” and “black female” – metaphoric terms for adulterer and adulteress. Being labelled thus leads more often than not to the killing of both the man and the woman found allegedly guilty of being involved an illicit affair. This is especially true in rural areas of the southern province of Sindh. In other parts of the country, women are more likely to be accused of sexual improprieties, and murdered in order to wash the sullied family honour.

Official data published by the Pakistani Senate shows that more than 4,000 people died in the last 6 years as result of “Karo-Kari.” Of the victims, almost 2,800 were women and just over 1,300 were men — in other words, twice as many women as men lose their lives to this most barbaric social custom, according to newspaper reports.
Source: The News

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