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Islam and Human Rights (31 Aug 2008 NewAgeIslam.Com)



PAKISTAN: Five women buried alive, allegedly by the brother of a minister - Asian Human Rights Commission issues urgent appeal against 'honour' killing


ASIAN HUMAN RIGHTS COMMISSION - URGENT APPEALS PROGRAMME

Urgent Appeal Case: AHRC-UAC-182-2008

Dear friends,

The Asian Human Rights Commission (AHRC) has received information from a remote area of Balochistan province, that five women were buried alive, allegedly by the younger brother of Mr. Sadiq Umrani, the provincial minister and a prominent leader of the Pakistan People's Party, the ruling party. However, police have still not arrested the perpetrators after one month of the incident.

CASE DETAILS:

The Umrani tribe is mainly concentrated in the Jafarabad and Naseerabad districts of Balochistan provice that are about 300 kilometers from Quetta city, the provincial capital. Mr. Sadiq Umrani, the provincial minister for housing and construction, was elected to the Balochistan Assembly in the February 18, 2008 elections from Dera the Murad Jamali constituency of district Naseerabad.
The incident of the women being buried alive occurred in a remote village, the Baba Kot, 80 kilometers away from Usta Mohammad city of Jafferabad district. It is believed that due to the influence of the minister and his brother the incident was not reported in the media.

According to the information received, five women were Ms. Fatima, wife of Umeed Ali Umrani, Jannat Bibi, wife of Qaiser Khan, Fauzia, daughter of Ata Mohammad Umrani, and two other girls, aged between 16 to 18 years. They were at the house of Mr. Chandio at Baba Kot village and to leave for a civil court at Usta Mohammad, district Jafarabad, so that three of the girls could marry the men of their choice. Their decision to have marriage in court was the result of several days of discussions with the elders of the tribe who refused them permission to marry. The names of two younger girls were not ascertained because of strong control of tribal leaders in the area.

As the news of their plans leaked out, Mr. Abdul Sattar Umrani, a brother of the minister, came with more than six persons and abducted them at gun points. They were taken in a Land Cruiser jeep, bearing a registration number plate of the Balochistan government, to another remote area, Nau Abadi, in the vicinity of Baba Kot. After reaching the deserted area of Nau Abadi, Abdul Sattar Umrani and his six companions took the three younger women out of the jeep and beat them before allegedly opening fire with their guns. The girls were seriously injured but were still alive at that moment. Sattar Umrani and his accomplices hurled them into a wide ditch and covered them with earth and stones. The two older women were an aunt of Fauzia and the other, the mother of one minor. When they protested and tried to stop the burial of the minors that were plainly alive, the attackers were so angry that they also pushed them into the ditch and buried all alive. After completing the burial, they fired several shots into to the air so that no one would come close.

The minors were educated and were studying in classes from 10 to 12. They were punished for trying to decide about their marriages.

After one month the police have still not registered the case and it is difficult to get more detailed information. The provincial minister is so powerful that police are reluctant to provide details on the murder. When the AHRC contacted Mr. Sadiq Umrani, provincial minister, he confirmed the incident by saying that only three women had been killed by unknown persons. He denied his or his brother's involvement. He went on to say that the police will not disclose any information about the case as to do so now would be implicate themselves. However, concerned officers of two different police stations have confirmed the incident and explained that no one is providing any information. Also as they could not find the graves of the victims it is difficult to register the case. The victim's family members have since left the place and their whereabouts are unknown.

The alleged perpetrator, Mr. Abdul Sattar Umrani, the brother of the provincial minister, was also involved in murder of three persons, including one young woman, in January 2006. That case was similar in that a school teacher, Mr. Mohammad Aslam, was going with his lover in a taxi to a civil court to court marry. The perpetrators stopped them at Manjo Shori, sub district Tumboo, District Naseerabad and killed all three persons by gun fire. The dead included the taxi driver, Mr. Jabal Aidee. The police were unable to institute a murder case for five months until the intervention of Mr. Iftekhar Choudhry, the deposed Chief Justice of the Supreme Court and also the deputy speaker of Senate. But only one person was arrested and the perpetrator Abdul Sattar Umrani remained at large.

ADDITIONAL INFORMATION:

Every year in Pakistan hundreds of women, of all ages and in all parts of the country, are reported killed in the name of honour. Many more cases go unreported. Almost all go unpunished. The lives of millions of women in Pakistan are circumscribed by traditions, which enforce extreme seclusion and submission to men many of whom impose their virtually proprietarily control over women with violence. For the most part, women bear the traditional male control over every aspect of their bodies, speech and behaviour with stoicism, as part of their kismat (fate), but exposure to media, the work of women's rights groups and the greater degree of mobility have seen the beginnings of women's rights awareness seep into the secluded world of women. 

But if women begin to exert these rights, however tentatively, they often face more repression and punishment: the curve of honour killings has increased parallel to the rise in the awareness in rights. State indifference, discriminatory laws and the gender bias of much of the country's police force and judiciary have ensured virtual impunity for perpetuators of honour killings. It is paradoxical that women who enjoy such a poor status in society and have no standing in family should become a focal point of a false and primitive concept of family honour, which they are accepted to uphold at the expense of their inclinations and preference in the matters of marriage. [Honour Killings in Pakistan by Neshay Najam]

Originally a Baluch and Pashtun tribal custom, honour killings are founded in the twin concepts of honour and commodity of women. Women are married off for a bride price paid to the father. There is no concept for girls to get marriage on their own choice and if it is found then, they are killed in the name of honour. (Please also refer to LESSON Series 35 May 2004 of Human Rights Correspondence School)

SUGGESTED ACTION:
Please write letters to the following mentioned authorities demanding to file the case of murder of five women by burial alive by the perpetrators.

Please be informed that the AHRC has also written letters to the UN Special Rapporteur on extrajudicial, summary or arbitrary executions calling for an intervention in this case.

To support this appeal, please click here:

SAMPLE LETTER:

Dear ________,

PAKISTAN: Five women buried alive, allegedly by the brother of a minister

Names of victims;
1. Ms. Fatima wife of, Umeed Ali Umrani, 45 years old
2. Ms.Jannat Bibi wife of Qaiser Khan, 38 years old
3. Ms.Fauzia daughter of Ata Mohammad Umrani 18 years and two other girls, in between 16 to 18 years of age
(All are residents of village Mir Wah, Tehseel Tumboo, District Naseerabad, Balochistan province,
 Pakistan)

Name of alleged perpetrators: Mr. Abdul Sattar Umrani, residing at Usta Mohammad city, Jaffarabad, District, Balochistan province-Pakistan and his six accomplices
Place of incident; Village Baba Kot police station, Jafferabad, District, Pakistan

I am shocked to know that five women, including three minors, were buried alive in the remote of the Balochistan on the charges of choosing their life partners on their free will and not obeying the tribal tradition in their free choice. It is also of very grave concern for me that still the parallel judicial process is continued in the Pakistan in the name of Jirga which was banned by the higher courts of the country. Due to the powerful persons involvement the police is avoiding to register the case of killing of five women since first week of the July 2008.

According to the information that I have received, all five women were at the house of Mr. Chandio at Baba Kot village and to leave for a civil court at Usta Mohammad, district Jafarabad, so that three of the girls could marry the men of their choice. Their decision to have marriage in court was the result of several days of discussions with the elders of the tribe who refused them permission to marry. The names of two younger girls were not ascertained because of strong control of tribal leaders in the area.

As the news of their plans leaked out, Mr. Abdul Sattar Umrani, a brother of the minister, came with more than six persons and abducted them at gun points. They were taken in a Land Cruiser jeep, bearing a registration number plate of the Balochistan government, to another remote area, Nau Abadi, in the vicinity of Baba Kot. After reaching the deserted area of Nau Abadi, Abdul Sattar Umrani and his six companions took the three younger women out of the jeep and beat them before allegedly opening fire with their guns. The girls were seriously injured but were still alive at that moment. Sattar Umrani and his accomplices hurled them into a wide ditch and covered them with earth and stones. The two older women were an aunt of Fauzia and the other, the mother of one of the 16 year- old-girls. When they protested and tried to stop the burial of the girls that were plainly alive the attackers were so angry that they also pushed the women into the ditch and buried them alive. After completing the burial they fired several shots into to the air so that no one would come close.

The girls were educated and were studying in classes from 10 to 12. They were punished for trying to decide about their marriages.

After one and a half months the police have still not registered the case and it is difficult to get more detailed information. The provincial minister is so powerful that police are reluctant to provide details on the murder. When human rights activists contacted Mr. Sadiq Umrani, provincial minister, he confirmed the incident by saying that only three women had been killed by unknown persons. He denied his or his brother's involvement. He went on to say that the police will not disclose any information about the case as to do so now would be implicated themselves. However, concerned officers of two different police stations have confirmed the incident and explained that no one is providing any information. Also as they could not find the graves of the victims it is difficult to register the case. The victim's family members have since left the place and their whereabouts are unknown.

It is disturbing for me that anyone could be so inhumanly cruel as to bury someone alive. Whether or not Mr. Sadiq Umrani, is involved it is an established fact that a vehicle of the provincial government was used in the incident and that is why no police officer has dared to file a case against the perpetrators.

I request you to please take immediate action in this case and investigate this case as a matter of primary so that those responsible are brought to justice.

Yours sincerely,

--------------
PLEASE SEND YOUR LETTERS TO:

1. Mr. Syed Yousaf Raza Gillani
Prime minister
Prime Minister House, Islamabad,
PAKISTAN
Fax: +92 51 922 1596
Tel: +92 51 920 6111
E-mail: webmaster@infopak.gov.pk

2. Mr. Rehman Malik
Advisor for Ministry of Interior
Room No. 404, 4th Floor, R Block,
Pak Secretariat
Islamabad
PAKISTAN
Fax: +92 51 920 2624
Tel: +92 51 921 2026
E-mail: minister@interior.gov.pk

3. Mr. Farooq Naik
Minister of Law, Justice and Human Rights
S Block Pakistan Secretariat
Islamabad
PAKISTAN
Fax: +92 51 920 2628
E-mail: minister@molaw.gov.pk or naelaw786@hotmail.com  

4. Nawab Aslam Raisani
Chief Minister of Balochistan
Chief Minister House, Quette,
PAKISTAN
Fax: +92 81 920 2240
Tel: +92 81 449582 / 440661
E-mail:
mirlashkari@yahoo.com

5. Nawab Zulfiqar Magsi
Governor of Balochistan
Governor House Balochistan,
Quetta- Balochistan province,
PAKISTAN
Fax: +92 81 920 2992.

Thank you.

Urgent Appeals Programme
Asian Human Rights Commission (
ua@ahrchk.org)

Posted on: 11 August 2008
View Source article: http://www.ahrchk.net

URL: http://www.newageislam.com/islam-and-human-rights/pakistan--five-women-buried-alive,-allegedly-by-the-brother-of-a-minister---asian-human-rights-commission-issues-urgent-appeal-against--honour--killing-/d/679





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