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Young couple, baby daughter murdered

By: Mohammad Asghar

RAWALPINDI: A young couple and their seven-month-old first born were found strangulated in their house in Fauji Colony on Sunday afternoon, police said. Neighbours of the slain 27-year-old man, his wife, 24, and their little daughter were shocked at the brutality – apparently committed in the name of honour.

“It is suspected the couple was sedated and then strangulated. However, the real circumstances would be determined by postmortem and forensic tests,” Inspector Malik Arshad of Pirwadhai police told Dawn.

Initial investigation suggested it could be an honour crime as the couple had married against the wishes of their families, with the woman’s family allegedly particularly angry and revengeful. Whatever be the motive, taking law into one’s own hands and killing somebody is a heinous crime, made more reprehensible in this case by taking the life of a helpless child.

Dawn has gathered that the woman belonged to Mandi Bahauddin and had eloped with a man some 18 months ago. The lovers got married against the wishes of their families. A daughter was born to them seven months ago.

The woman’s parents lodged a case with Miana Gondal police station of Mandi Bahauddin against the man. But the case was withdrawn as settled after the couple stated to the area magistrate that they had a legal marriage and presented the nikahnama.

Reconciliation efforts of some members of their families also helped a patch-up – but only on the surface. The woman’s brother and her two uncles, however, are alleged to have secretly nursed revenge against the couple for “bringing dishonour to the family” and supposedly took the revenge on Sunday.

Superintendent of Police Chaudhry Hanif of Rawal Division said a police team had been tasked to follow the clues and track down the suspects named in the FIR. The woman’s brother is said to have traced the couple to their house in the Fauji Colony where they had moved about six weeks ago and started visiting the place as if he had forgiven and forgotten the past.

Allah Ditta, elder brother of the deceased man, living in the same colony and sharing the profession of painting houses, was in for great shock when he came to visit his younger brother around 2:30pm on Sunday. He found the whole family lying dead on the floor and called police.

“Tea cups and other pots lay scattered around the bodies as if the victims had taken tea sitting on the floor. Some pieces of rope, papers – one of which was nikahnama – also were found at the crime scene when the police arrived there,” investigating officer Malik Arshad said.

There were no signs of any struggle or resistance by the victims, he said. In his view, the tea might have contained sedatives and the victims strangulated later.

“Laboratory tests would determine the facts, however. Police collected forensic evidence like the tea cups, the pieces of rope and the nikahnama from the crime scene as case property,” he said, noting that “the girl’s brother had been staying with her for the past two days”.

Allah Ditta told Dawn: “Accompanied by my brother-in-law, I had visited his (brother’s) house only the previous evening. Everything looked normal. The woman’s brother was there and chatted with me, without betraying any evil intentions.
“My brother had been facing life threats from the uncles of his wife. Although the case had been settled by the court of magistrate, they used to threaten him.”

One of the woman’s uncles ran a shop selling ‘ropes of all kinds’ in Mandi Bahauddin, he added.

Javaid Iqbal, the owner of the house the couple lived in, said: “The woman’s brother was with me until 8pm (previous night) talking in the street but did not show any uneasiness.”