January, 2011

Ghotki woman running for her life after being declared ‘Kari’ by husband
Accused not arrested despite FIR registration

Monday, April 20, 2009
By Aisha Masood


Basheeran and her entire family are under serious threat of being killed by her husband Shahnawaz, who declared her as ‘Kari.’ She escaped from her native district Ghotki, taking shelter in Karachi out of the fear that Shahnawaz and his accomplices would kill her in the name of honour. Despite the fact that an FIR is registered with the Ghotki police, the police have still not arrested the accused and he’s moving by and large in the area.

The victim, who is in her late twenties and is a mother of an eight-year old, told The News that her husband and his relatives, Shabeer, Ghulam Mustafa and Ghulam Haider have levelled allegations of Karo Kari against her, with the Karo being her step uncle, Shahzad Ali. Denying the charges levelled by her husband, Basheeran said that Shahnawaz had been cruelly beating her for two years. But when she protested, he blamed her for being in an illicit relationship with her uncle.

“My husband is constantly threatening my parents that he would kill me at any cost,” said Basheeran, who is now living with her daughter and step-father under the shelter of a local NGO, the Pakistan International Human Rights Organisation (PIHRO). She said that Shahnawaz has been pressurizing her mother in Ghotki to withdraw the FIR, while her step-father is also receiving threatening calls from him.

PIHRO Provincial Coordinator Dr Tajun Nisa Baloch told The News that after having met with Basheera on April 13 outside the Karachi Press Club, she contacted Ghotki deputy superintendent of police (DSP) on April 14 and lodged an FIR (No.148/2009) against the group. Baloch has also spoken to Ghotki Senior Superintendent of Police (SSP) Junaid Ahmed Shaikh and Investigation In Charge Muhammad Deen Malhan, and was assured cooperation in this matter.

The PIHRO representative, however, believed that Ghotki police are supporting the accused. “I called up the Ghotki police on Wednesday afternoon, and they told me that their officers have already gone to arrest Shahnawaz. But he is still at large,” she told The News.

The complicity of the police can be judged by their cold response on the matter, Baloch added. She narrated that when she called the DSP concerned, he simply told her that he was busy with other important cases for the past few days, and could not manage to look into this case. “He told me that it is not easy for the police to pursue all cases and take action on every FIR launched. He said that the accused go underground in many cases,” she said. However Baloch reminded him that the accused in question was roaming about in the jurisdiction of Ghotki police.

Baloch said that according to her sources in Ghotki, Shahnawaz has been frequently visiting the police station. “It is understood that the police are not arresting the culprit willingly ñ the copy of the FIR initially sent to us by the Ghotki police did not even have an FIR number,” she said.

Meanwhile, Basheeran’s mother has been receiving calls from the DPO staff for the past couple of days, asking her to visit the DPO office. When she went there previously, she had to sit there for the entire day but no one turned up to meet her. Baloch alleged that all this is being done to prevent Basheeran and her family from pursuing the case. “The delay in the arrest on the part of the police conveys a silent message to the family to resolve the matter by adopting a ‘middle’ way.”

While the police are not arresting him, the accused is freely moving around the town, she said, adding that Shahnawaz regularly visits Basheeran’s mother to pressurise her to bring her daughter back and cancel the FIR. Shahnawaz also recently called Dr Baloch on phone, warning her to stay away, otherwise he would kill her too. The PIHRO office in Karachi also received threatening calls on Friday, asking them to drop the case or be prepared for dire consequences.

It is not Basheeran alone who is running for her life but her entire family is in a death trap as her younger sister, Jamila is married to Shahnawaz’s brother Shabbir, who is one of the four accused.

Basheeran’s mother is horrified with the situation, since she has no clue about Jamila. “We don’t even know if she is alive or not since the latter lives in the house of accused and there’s no way to contact her,” said Dr. Baloch while she felt that Jamila needs to be protected at the earliest.

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