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Where ‘saying no’ costs girl her life

SAHIWAL, Sept 3: A 17-year-old girl was shot dead by none other than her dear ones in the presence of police after a senior civil judge decreed dissolution of marriage on her plea on Wednesday.

While pleading her case, the girl had been staying at the Darul Aman for the last two months on the court order.

Saira, alias Nusrat Bibi, of Chak 98/9-L (Kameer) was hardly nine when her parents married her off to a man of their own biradari, Muhammad Akram, 45, a resident of Chak 123/9-L (Kameer) on July 14, 2001. Although the Nikah was solemnised, her parents did not send the girl with her husband as she was minor.

Against the marriage right from the day one, the girl at the age of 16 openly refused to accept Akram as her husband. Meanwhile, she had a crush on a young cousin, Muhammad Abbas, son of Muhammad Yar, residents of the same village.

Saira’s family forced her to go with her husband, saying they had made arrangements for her ‘Rukhsati’, but the girl would resist. She argued that she was a minor when her Nikah was solemnised and her will was not included.

Six months back, her parents got the wind of her love affair with Abbas and forcibly sent her with Akram who got registered a fake kidnap case against Abbas and three others under PPC 365/B with the Kameer police station on May 5 to avert his wife’s elopement. The police also arrested Abbas who has been detained at the Sahiwal central jail ever since.

On May 9, Saira moved court against Akram for seeking a dissolution of marriage decree. No sooner had the senior civil judge accepted her plea then her family and husband started threatening her. The girl again moved court and informed the judge that she might be killed by her husband, father and brothers.

Two months ago, Muhammad Zubair, the family court judge, sent her to Darul Aman for protection under the Civil Lines police custody. And she kept pursuing case. For her final hearing, the girl was brought to the court under the custody of Civil Lines police sub-inspector Muhammad Afzal at 10:30 in the morning. The incumbent senior civil judge, Nadeem Shaukat, issued dissolution of marriage decree in her favour and also confirmed the status to Akram.

The girl was coming out of court with her counsel and police when four armed men surrounded her and the next moment they shot at her, leaving her in a pool of blood. A Rescue 1122 team took the girl to the DHQ hospital, but she breathed her last. According to a rescuer, “the girl expired before our arrival due to profuse bleeding.”

Malik Nowsher Khan, the girl’s counsel, blamed the law enforcers for negligence. All the police did was expressing shock at the incident as this correspondent talked to SI Muhammad Afzal. “It’s very shocking and beyond my expectation,” was what the policeman said.

Dawn tried to see the senior civil judge, but he had left the office.

The Civil Lines police arrested four men — Mokha (Saira’s father), her husband Akram, a brother and a cousin. There was, however, no registration of a case till last reports came in.
Source: Dawn
Date:9/4/2008

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