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Police exhume bodies of two women buried alive

02 September, 2008

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QUETTA: Police exhumed on Monday night the bodies of two women allegedly buried alive in the Baba Kot area of Nasirabad district last month.

“Police opened up the grave pointed out by the arrested accused and two bodies were found,” DIG Ghulam Shabir Shiekh told mediamen.

Police cordoned off the area and arrested three people.

Sources said police opened up graves on indications given two of the arrested men -- Umaid Ali and Ghous Bakhsh Umrani --, but did not find any body in these places. Later the two spoke about a spot in Gopang Leri area. This time police did find the two bodies after opening up a grave in the presence of a magistrate and a team of lady doctors.

The victims were identified as Izzat Khatoon and Mai Siyani.

According to an initial medical report, the skull of one of the women was found broken and there were bullet wounds on the other body.

“The bodies were buried without shroud (Kafan) in one grave,” the DIG said, adding that it appeared to be a case of “Karo Kari”.

“I am hopeful that other bodies would also be recovered,” said DIG Shabir, who is heading the special investigation team. “Soon the mystery of the killing will be resolved and other people involved in it will be arrested.”

There are conflicting reports about the number of victims. Some sources said that three women were killed while others said two were killed and one had managed to escape.

“We cannot say anything about the number of victims till the completion of digging work,” police sources said.

A police team also visited Ustad Mohammad town, from where the women were stated to have been taken away by armed men in a government vehicle.

According to the investigation, two girls and a woman had come to the town in the first week of July and stayed at a hotel near the house of Umaid Ali. The next day some armed men came to the hotel in a government-owned vehicle and whisked them away.Sources said that Umaid Ali had told police during the interrogation that a influential tribal was involved in the kidnapping.

PPP LEADER’S DENIAL: The Balochistan minister and deputy parliamentary leader of the PPP, Mir Sadiq Umrani, said that two women, and not five, had been murdered.

He told a press conference at his assembly chamber that Ata Mohammad Umrani, father of Izzat Khatoon, had named Umaid Ali and Ghous Bakhsh in a police report as his daughter’s killers.

The PPP leader said his family had nothing to do with the incident, accusing his rivals of propaganda.

He said the Sibi DIG and DPOs of Nasirabad, Jaffarabad and Bolan were investigating the matter and the federal government had also sent its team.

BHC TAKES NOTICE: The Balochistan High Court granted on Monday time to police and the Human Rights Commission to submit their reports relating to the murders.

The hearing was adjourned to Sept 22.

A divisional bench comprising Chief Justice Amanullah Khan Yasinzai and Justice Akhtar Zaman Malghani accepted applications of Jaffarabad DPO Nazir Kurd and HRCP (Balochistan chapter) vice-chairperson Malik Zahoor Ahmed Shahwani seeking time for submitting reports.

The chief justice had on July 16 taken suo motu notice of a newspaper report published on July 14 regarding the July 13 killings.

On the other hand, the Senate strongly condemned on Monday the burying alive of five women in Balochistan in the name of family honour and demanded severe punishment of people who committed the crime.

The senators expressed serious concern over what they called a deliberate hush-up of the killing and then its attribution to Baloch tribal traditions. Saying that there was no such tradition in the Baloch society they urged the government to ensure that such crimes were not committed in future.

The government presented a report which gave a ‘twist’ to the incident by changing the burying of the women alive into the killing and then burying and said it was the result of a land dispute and not a case of honour killing as had been reported.

Prime Minister’s Adviser on Interior Rehman Malik informed the house that according to the local police report three women -- Fauzia, Fatima and Jannat Bibi -- had been killed following a land dispute.

However, he pointed out that the IG Balochistan had a different version and he said that the three women had been taken in a taxi to some place and brought back the following day and gunned down and buried.

The adviser did not mention the incident as of ‘burying alive’. But, he assured the house that the culprit(s) would be punished in accordance with the law.

He said the Balochistan High Court had already taken suo moto notice of the incident and justice would be done.

“We have rejected a preliminary report and sought a detailed report. The killing for honour is not confined to only Balochistan; such incidents also take place in other provinces.” The house unanimously adopted a resolution condemning the incident. It was moved by Yasmeen Shah and Wasim Sajjad of the PML-Q. Senators in their speeches criticised Senator Mir Israrullah Zehri’s statement that the incident was part of Baloch tribal traditions.

The resolution said: “This house strongly condemns the gruesome incident of killing/burying alive of five Baloch women and demands meting out stern punishment to those involved in the crime.”

Acting chairman of Senate Jan Mohammad Jamali, who appeared perturbed over what he called ‘out of proportion’ coverage to the incident, said: “It is not a matter of mere sloganeering. It pertained to five women. The media gave the matter such a colour as if heavens have fallen.”

Leader of the House Raza Rabbani urged Mr Jamali to send the matter to the house committee on human rights which might co-opt the parties having no representation in it to visit the area and investigate the incident and report back to the house.

Earlier, Haji Mohammad Adeel of the ANP said: “We hold Baloch Sardars in high esteem but we cannot allow anyone to bury women alive.”

Prof Khurshid Ahmed of Jamaat-i-Islami said no jirga or tradition allowed killing women in such a manner. He demanded a judicial inquiry into the incident.

Maulana Abdul Ghafoor Haideri of the JUI-F attributed the incident to the so-called women protection bill and proposed necessary amendments to the law.

Abdul Rahim Mandokhel of the Pakhtunkhwa Milli Awami Party said: “All decisions should be made in accordance with the law of land.”

Ishaq Dar of the PML-N deplored the remarks of some lawmakers mingling the violation of law with tribal traditions.


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