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Woman kept by Jirga produced after 15 months

KARACHI, June 14 2005: Imam Khatoon, who had been termed Kari by a tribal Jirga, was at least produced before the Single Bench of Sindh High Court comprising of Justice Azizullah Memon here June 13 after 15 months of captivity in the presence of tribesmen.

Imam khatoon from Jacobabad belonging to Soomro tribe married of her free will with Shahid Mustafa belonging to Rind Baloch tribe on Jan 17, 2003. Later, the enraged parents of girl had summoned a tribal Jirga comprising of 250 tribal elders headed by Sardar Abdul Ghaffar Khan of Rojhan Jamali, Jafferabad district Balochistan.

The Jirga in its verdict declared that Shahid Mustafa and Imam Khatoon were karo kari. They asked Shahid to hand over his wife to them, who was later forcibly shifted to some secret place along with her minor son Ghulam Mustafa.

The husband later filed a Constitutional petition in the Sindh High Court through the Lawyers for Human Rights and Legal Aid. Zia Ahmed Awan appealed to the court to term the verdict of Jirga illegal and help him recover his wife Iman Khatoon and son Ghulam Mustafa.

The honourable court during previous hearing had issued several notices to produce the detainee before court so that she could record her statement, but her father and concerned police officials failed to comply with these orders.

On June 4, the court had issued the rule Nisi and also a 10-day notice to the DIG Larkana to produce the detainee before court.

On June 13, the advocate Zia Awan and Agha Zafar council of the State appeared before the court. TPO Jacobabad Khuda Bux produced Imam Khatoon along with her two children before the court. A large number of people from Imam Khatoon father’s tribe were also present on the occasion.

The learned council of petitioner Zia Awan urged the court that Imam Khatoon should be allowed to meet the petitioner before recording her statement as in present circumstances, it seems that heavy presence of people of her tribe might influence her statement.

On this request the court issued orders sending Imam Khatoon along with her children to Darul Amman and adjourned the hearing till 17th.

The court issued production orders of Imam Khatoon before the court on 17th along with her children so that her statement could be recorded.

Source: The Nation