PAKISTAN: Three more women allegedly buried in Balochistan

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Urgent Appeal Case: AHRC-UAC-215-2008

26 September 2008

PAKISTAN: Three more women allegedly buried in same way as five women buried in Balochistan

ISSUES: Violence against women; impunity; no investigation; abduction; murder; honour killing; rule of law

Dear friends,
The Asian Human Rights Commission (AHRC) is shocked to learn that three more women have been buried alive in Balochistan province, a few days after they protested against the live burial of five women taking place in the same province (AHRC-UAC-182-2008). One prime perpetrator of the murder has not been seen since he was taken into police custody. It is reported that he and seven other men involved are under the protection of the provincial minister Mr. Sadiq Umrani–the brother of the main suspect.

According to information received, the three women had spoken out in the case of the live burial of five women (please refer to AHRC-UAC-182-2008). They were allegedly abducted by Mr. Abdul Sattar Umrani–the younger brother of the provincial minister–and other thugs, including a head constable of police. It is reported that the three women were also buried alive using the same tractor as in the case of the first five women. The women were from Teendah and Mirwah villages in Naseerabad (names withheld for security reasons of their family members). As of now, the number of women who have been buried rises to eight in the area.

Meanwhile, Mr. Ghulam Nabi Umrani, the head constable of police and bodyguard to Abdul Sattar Umrani, has still not been arrested and continues serving as a personal bodyguard.

It is reported that suspects are hiding under the protection of the provincial minister, Mr. Sadiq Umrani. The alleged main perpetrator, Mr. Mohammed Murad, Nazim (chief) of Union Consul Garhi Raman–the owner of the tractor–was taken into police custody last week. He was handed over to the crime branch of the Balochistan police, who deny that he was handed over. It is believed that he too is now under provincial protection.

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Detailed information has been obtained regarding an earlier case in which Mr. Abdul Sattar Umrani was involved (AHRC-STM-234-2008). In this case, he forcibly occupied the land of Haji Bulab Palali in Moza Tharoo, Babakot, and gave the house to his brother, at the same time that his brother became provincial of housing in May 2008. It caused armed fighting between the two parties and one man from the Umrani side, Mr. Abdul Fateh Bangal, was killed.

In an act of revenge for Bangal’s death, Umrani’s side attacked Haji’s house together with Mr. Mohammed Murad. During the assault they killed eight people including the wife of Haji and his four sons.

After the killings took place, Mr. Nadir Magsi, minister of Sindh province held a Jirga that decided upon a fine of Rs. 10 million (around USD 150,000) against Abdul Sattar Umrani. He made a payment of Rs. 1 million for the murder of each person and 2 million rupees for dishonoring the sanctity of another’s house by attacking it. However, the police have not yet instigated an investigation or made any effort to arrest those responsible.

Please also refer to an open letter to Dr. Yakin Erturk, the UN Special Rapporteur on Violence against Women sent by the Asian Human Rights Commission concerning the burying alive of five women. (AHRC-OLT-021-2008).

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The courts of Pakistan, including the Supreme Court and the Sindh High Court, have declared the Jirga as illegal and unconstitutional. Nevertheless, it is still a common practice in feudal and tribal based areas (please refer to our previous appeals: AHRC-UAC-193-2008, AHRC-UAC-182-2008, AHRC-UAC-144-2008, UP-89-2007, UA-175-2005).

The Government of Pakistan has not taken any positive action to eliminate discrimination against women. By allowing the illegal Jirga system to continue they are turning a blind eye to the grave inconsistencies in the judiciary system in Pakistan.

Please write an appeal to the following authorities demanding the arrest of the real perpetrators and an independent enquiry into the continuous burial alive of women by persons in power.

Please be informed that the AHRC has also written letters to the UN Special Rapporteur on Violence against Women calling for an intervention in this case.

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