Shaheed Bibi Hanifa: Ghotki, Sind

Ghotki DPO uncovers brutal murder of woman

(Shaheed Bibi Hanifa: Ghotki, Sind)

Saturday, November 22, 2008

By Imtiaz Hussain

KHAIRPUR: DPO Ghotki on Friday announced that he had traced the killers of a woman, who was murdered on the pretext of Karo-Kari.

DPO Javed Sonharo Jiskani told The News that Hanifa was brutally killed by her spouse four days ago in village Muhammad Ismail Mahar in the limits of the Yaro Lund Police Station of Ghotki.

He said the murder was secret and even the police did not take any notice of the gruesome murder. He said someone informed him on telephone about the incident, following which he conducted a comprehensive inquiry. DPO Javed said he found that Hanifa moved to Rahim Yar Khan to her sister’s home to take refuge from her husband, who had accused her of having illicit relations with her second cousin (husband of her sister), and wanted to kill her on this baseless charge.

He said a notable of the area Muhammad Ismail Mahar later intervened and guaranteed to Hanifa that her husband will not kill her and motivated her to return to her house. The DPO said the woman was killed allegedly by her husband and during the inquiry, he found that before killing the woman on the charge of Karo Kari, her husband Waryam also tortured her to extract confession that she had illicit relations with her second cousin. She was put in a ditch with threats that she would be buried alive if she did not confess.

Hanifa, however, refused to confess and her husband allegedly killed her and buried her body without funeral rites, the DPO said.

Jirga gives three minors in marriage to resolve disagreement

Khadijah Shah

SUKKUR, PAKISTAN: A Jirga held in Drighpur village in Shikarpur district on Monday decided to give three underage girls in marriage to settle a dispute over a karo-kari incident.

According to sources, the Jirga was convened to settle the karo-kari dispute between one Sher Dil Jatoi and his clan and Shahoo Jatoi and his family. Sher Dil had killed his wife about two months ago after declaring her Kari and accusing Shahoo Jatoi of having illicit relations with her, they assumed.

The Jirga, which was attended by hundreds of Jatoi clansmen and representatives of the warring parties, declared Shahoo as karo and wife of Sher Dil as Kari and ordered Shahoo to give three girls in
marriage to the sons of Sher Dil and 20 buffaloes as compensation.

The sources claimed that both the groups accepted the Jirga verdict and then embraced each other as a sign of rapprochement.

The girls, a daughter of Shahoo and two daughters of Shahoo’s brothers, Miro Jatoi and Khanan Jatoi, were reported to be aged between 12 to 14 years, the sources believe.

Ferhan Mazher
Chairman (Rays of Development Organization, Sargodha, Pakistan)

Man kills wife mercilessly

Khadijah Shah

SUKKUR, PAKISTAN, Oct 4: A man suspecting his wife of having illicit relationship with another man killed her and her alleged paramour in Kalati Golato village near Kandhkot here on Friday night.

The accused, Abdul Karim Golato, with his accomplices declaring his wife kari and her alleged paramour karo first strangled his wife, Zura, and later raided the house of Tangni Golato and shot him dead
and fled.

The area police shifted the bodies to Buxapur hospital for post-mortem.

Police have registered a case against Abdul Karim Golato and Ali Hasan Golato on the complaint of the brother of the deceased Tagni Golato, Abdul Rehman Golato.

Ferhan Mazher
Chairman (Rays of Development Organization, Sargodha, Pakistan)

‘Violence Against Women’? No! GENDER-CIDE in Pakistan!

By Fauzia Rafiq

I write this as tears unstoppable, fall from my eyes. The mourning for the five women buried alive in Balochistan was hardly over when the news came late last night that three more women were buried alive for speaking against the atrocities done earlier to Bibi Jannat, Bibi Fatmah, Bibi Fauzia, Bibi Benaam1 and Bibi Benaam2 in July of this year. Though we say Five, the sources suspect the women buried alive in July 2008 were Seven; this makes it Eight or Ten.

Though i do, but right now i am not crying for Three Five Eight or Ten women. I am crying for uncountable number of women killed for honour and revenge in Pakistan since the Eighties. But just to keep my feet on the ground, here is the approximate exact number for the last Six months: 225 for ‘honour’ and 722 for ‘no-honour’ = 947 or Nine Hundred and Forty Seven Only.

But wait, these are stats collected by Aurat Foundation, a non-profit organization that can not reach each neighborhood and each village of the country. The researchers would have had to rely on police records and government statistics, and in both these areas the numbers are known to NOT reflect the reality of the reference. Pakistan Human Rights Commission (PHRC), Asian Human rights Commission (AHRC), and women’s direct service and advocacy organizations show many complaints in their service registers about the police not registering the cases in these matters.

In Pakistan, some say, read it three times the number. Shall we read it 2841 instead of 947 then? That’s too much. Lets just double the number instead of tripling it: 1894 in 6 months. From January to June 2008. However, counting and numbers fast become irrelevant at times when what is happening to women in a country can no more be defined as ‘honour killings’, ‘domestic violence’, ‘wife assault’ or ‘violence against women’. It’s gender-cide.

This gender-cide began in Pakistan in the Eighties with the implementation of Muslim Sharia Laws, and has continued through the Nineties as Muslim extremists have flourished to gain commanding political ground in Punjab, Balochistan and the NWFP. Now reaching a level of urgency in 2008, it puts the largest majority of Pakistani women at the direct risk of sexual violence, torture and death. The ones most vulnerable are in rural and tribal areas where the terrifying control exercised by local influential men is protected by religion, law and the gun with zero tolerance for dissent.

The majority of women living in rural and tribal areas are at risk more than ever because though women were being killed and exploited for revenge, family honor, watta-satta, karo-kari and other similar social and cultural constructs, it was never as often, as brutal and as much as it is now with the blanket protection provided by Islamic laws, edicts and notions. For the reader who does not see the connection: a society that by law requires women survivors of rape, for example, to produce four Muslim male eyewitnesses of upright character to prove or even to register the case against the rapists, is setting women up for increased instances of rape, sexual violence, honour killings and murders.

So, at any pressure point in the life of a woman or in the life of her family or community, she will be the first casuality of justice, likely with no possibility of help from outside the room, home or village.

The case of Five Baloch Women Buried Alive this July, signifies the cruelty, cold-bloodedness and the absolute control enjoyed by the perpetrators in a situation of ‘family’ interaction. Not only that, it reveals the nature of deadly silences and conspiracies that involve such acts of inhuman violence carried out against unarmed women; and, we are not even certain of the number or the names of the individuals who died there.

In a village called Mirwah in Balochistan, two young sister and a friend studied in the nearby high school. As are the customs, they were likely ‘given’ or ‘taken’ by another relative/s for their sons from childhood. The three young women Benaam 1 (16-18), Benaam 2 (16-18) and Fauzia (18) did not want to marry where their ‘families’ wanted them to. They discussed this matter with two older relatives Fatmah (45) and Jannat (38); the matter was taken to the family elders or Jirga that went on to rule against the wishes of the three young women.

The three young women, however, were strong in their resolve to stand up to the unjust authoritarianism dished out to women by elders/jirgas. With support of Jannat and Fatmah, they went to the nearby city to contract civil marriages.

At this point, they were abducted by a group of armed men in a government vehicle and brought to another small village in the desert. The abductors included the fathers, brothers, uncles and cousins of five women, and some local political goons. Reports say that the men hit and shot the three young women, and then began to bury them while they were still alive.

Fatmah and Jannat tried to stop them, and were also shot and hurled into the ground alive.

This happened in the second week of July but we came to know of it at the end of August when Baloch Senator Yasmeen Shah with help from some courageous journalists, brought it out in the open. The alive burials of women were defended in the Senate; and, the extensive cover up and silencing that was underway was shamefacedly perfected by the provincial and federal power brokers.

Pressure from rights activists and women’s groups pushed Pakistan People Party (PPP) to take a stand amidst a power-balancing act as it took over the government. Leaders of women’s groups in Pakistan held a nation-wide consultation and released a statement of action titled Declaration on Burying Women Alive/Killing of Women in the Name of “Honour” and other Customary Practices issued by Joint Action Committees (JACs), Women’s Action Forums (WAF chapters), Insani Haqooq Itehad (IHI) and Violence Against Women Watch Groups. The Supreme Court of Pakistan took sou motu notice. The newly instituted government of the PPP responded as if it was going to do something about it but nothing has really been done. A post by the Karachi Committee of Communist Workers & Peasants Party (CMKP), an association of five workers peasants and women’s organizations, says:
‘We feel that the issue regarding the atrocities meted out to five Baloch women who were buried alive on the orders of a tribal jirga not too long ago is being side-tracked, just like other similar issues before this one.’
Protest against atrocities meted out to five women buried alive

And then the news last night!
Three older women were also buried alive in July for demanding basic human rights for women in Pakistan. They were from the same village: Mirwah.
They were buried alive at the same place: Babakot.

Death anywhere
but when i die
bury me in Babakot
so that i can become a part
of the sand
that layered the bleeding flesh
of my sisters

Send An Appeal Letter

First published at Uddari Weblog

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Jirga rules minor girl be given in marriage to resolve feud

By Khadijah Shah

SUKKUR, PAKISTAN, Sept 19: A jirga held in Khanpur Mahar on Friday came up with the verdict that a seven-year-old girl be married to a 50-year old man to resolve a dispute related to karo-kari allegations. However, the family of the girl has refused to accept the verdict on the ground that she is too young to be married.

According to sources, the jirga was held in Khanpur Mahar to resolve a one-year old karo-kari dispute between Chakar Shar of Khanpur Mahar and Yasin Shar of Khuharo Village near Ghotki. The jirga, after
hearing both the parties, came to the conclusion that Chakar Shar had illicit affair with Subhan Khatoon wife of Yasin Shar. It slapped a fine of Rs 40,000 ($US 527) on Chakar and regulated him to marry his cousin Birbul Shar’s seven-year-old daughter Guddi to Nadoo Shar, 50, who is father of Yasin Shar. Chakar does not have a girl child.

Chakar Shar refused to accept the verdict, claiming that, Guddi Shar was only 7 years old and they would not giver her in marriage to Nado Shar who is 50 year old.

Later, talking to media, Yar Mohammad Shar, brother of Guddi Shar, termed the decision of Jirga as atrocious and revealed that the elder, who presided over the Jirga, was pressuring them to accept the
verdict, but they would never accept it.

One year ago, Yasin Shar declared his wife Subhan Khatoon kari (sinner) with Chakar Shar and sent her to her parents and since then both the groups were daggers drawn over the issue and on Friday a Jirga was held to resolve the issue.

Ferhan Mazher
Chairman (Rays of Development Organization)

Phantom of Violence Continues to Threaten Women

By Khadijah Shah

Phantom of violence against women continues to take place in various forms and in different parts of the country, exposing the ghoulish practices, sending waves of shock and alarm in society.

Women, being the weaker segment of society, are vulnerable to many forms of violence among which domestic violence or more accurately, woman/wife assault, is the most common form. However, the recent incident in Balochistan was an eye opener for those fighting in the forefront for women’s equality.

Putting the female gender under the shackles of centuries old traditions in the form of ‘vani’, ‘swara’, ‘karo kari’ and ‘watta satta’, the culture continue to persist in remote areas under the patronage of elders or influential clan members. Among these, domestic violence is a multifaceted problem with biological, psychological, social and environmental consequences, that is often perpetrated by family members or in-laws. Many social, political, religious and local taboos continue to hinder attempts to change for the better.

The World Health Organization defines domestic violence as “the range of sexually, psychologically and physically coercive acts used against adult and adolescent women.”

“Domestic violence, hidden in nature and considered as a private matter involves physical, sexual, emotional, social, economic and physiological abuse committed by a person,” as defined by legal
experts. There is a need to provide a legal mechanism for the protection of victims of woman abuse in line with the provision of the Constitution of Islamic Republic of Pakistan.

Article 25 establishes the principle of equality of all citizens before law and then goes on to disallow discrimination on the basis of sex and then to allow the State to make special provisions for the
protection of women and children. Articles 27 and 34 allow affirmative action for women and Article 35 confers special protection on the family, marriage, the mother and the child.

The amended Protection of Women (Criminals Laws Amendment) Act 2006 provides ‘relief’ and protection to women against misuse and abuse of laws relating to ‘Zina’ and ‘Qazf’ (Enforcement of Hudood Ordinance 1979), and the Dissolution of Muslim Marriages Act 1939.

However, the issue of wife assault/woman abuse remains unaddressed under this law. Numerous cases are reported but the officials concerned are reluctant to intervene by terming them as ‘private affairs’ of the complainants.

An effort to address the issue was made by the National Assembly Standing Committee on Women Development on April 26, 2007 when a bill called ‘Domestic Violence Against Women and Children (Prevention and Protection) Bill, 2007’ was submitted to the cabinet for approval. However, there was no progress and the tenure of the government ended on November 2007.

Protection of Women (Criminals Laws Amendment) Act 2006 was enacted on December 1, 2006 to provide relief and defense to women against the misuse and abuse of law and to prevent their exploitation.

Ferhan Mazher
Rays of Development Organization
Sargodha, Pakistan

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Pakistan: Jirga orders killing of a woman

DADU, PAKISTAN: A Jirga in Sehwan has ordered the killing of a woman allegedly involved in karo-kari. The Jirga, supervised over by a local on Monday, also asked an alleged paramour of the woman to pay 400,000 Rupees ($US 5263.16) as fine to her husband.

However, the woman escaped from the village to save her life. The Jirga declared that Qurban Rind, a youth, and Wazeeran, wife of Sobho Khan Rind, of Jalib Rind village in Sehwan, had been found guilty of developing illicit relations.

Hyderabad DIG Sanaullah Abbasi told ROD he had asked DPOs of Jamshoro and Dadu to provide security to the woman and take action against the Jirga members.

However, the Jirga head denied that he had ordered the killing of the woman. He said he held a meeting to decide a dispute concerning karo-kari between two groups of his tribe. He said he decided that Wazeeran would be divorced and Qurban would pay the fine.