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PAKISTAN: A woman who chose to marry of her own choice is living under the threat of death by honor killing

call for urgent action from The Asian Human Rights Commission (AHRC)

Friday 8 November 2013, by siawi3

ASIAN HUMAN RIGHTS COMMISSION - URGENT APPEALS PROGRAMME
Urgent Appeal Case: AHRC-UAC-141-2013


8 November
2013
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PAKISTAN: A woman who chose to marry of her own choice is living under the threat of death by honor killing
ISSUES: Honour killing, illegal detention, gang rape, violence against women, impunity, no rule of law 
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Dear friends,
The Asian Human Rights Commission (AHRC) has received information that a young woman is in hiding in different places after she was declared as Kari (black) for violating the honour of the family by marrying man of her own choice. She was kept in illegal detention by a feudal lord and her brothers for nine months during which time she was gang raped by the henchmen of the lord. Her brothers tried to force her to agree to marry the 50-year-old man. She was released on the orders of a session court and since 2008, following her marriage with her fiancé, is in hiding with her three children. A jirga of feudal lords have declared her Kari and announced that her killing will occur according to the norms of the tribal society.
The police are working under pressure from the perpetrators and on many occasions have provided information to them about her movements.

CASE NARRATIVE:

Ms. Amna Maheser (29) the wife of Mr. Zulifqar Ali Maheser, resident of Village Rojo Maheser, Sultanpur taluka Pano Akil, District Sukkur, Sindh province, has been living under the threat of death since 2006 by a high government official, the feudal lord of the area and her brothers Mr. Mohammad Sadiq, Mr. Nasarullah and Mr. Muzafir Maheser and her cousins Mr. Shafiq and Mr. Mehyoun Mahesar.
Ms. Amna was engaged to her cousin Zulifqar. She consented willingly to this union as so did her father. However, when her father died she was forced by her brothers and cousins to marry a 50-year-old man, Mr. Mohammad Suleman which she refused. Her relatives and siblings became angry because of her decision and tried to convince her to change her mind. Eventually she was abducted and forcibly married to Mr. Suleman. Before the marriage she filed a case with the police to provide protection but, as is typical in these cases, the police did not move.
On 4 September 2006 when Amna was sitting with her fiancé Mr. Zulfiqar, her brother-in-law Mr. Liaquat Ali Mahesar, working as an Assistant Director in the Employees Old Age Benefit Institution and a powerful person of the district, entered her house with a mob and ordered the men to shoot the whole family as the police would not interfere. The nephews of Zulfiqar, Mr. Ijaz and Mr. Mujtaba, shot Amna in the chest and arm.
Amna’s advocate, Ms. Asmit Jahan, Legal Coordinator of Human Rights Sukkur, reached the scene of the incident with the police. Liaquat and his mob left the place before the police arrived leaving Amna unconscious and severely injured. Amna was sent to the Civil Hospital, Pano Akil immediately but due to lack of facilities she was shifted to the Civil Hospital Sukkur. Amna’s brothers and her cousins shifted her to Chandika Medical Home of the Hospital because they feared the human rights Activist, Asmat Jahan would try to assist her. After spending a few days in Chandka Hospital she was shifted to the house of her elder brother in laws in Larkana. There she was kept for a few weeks and after that she has shifted to a private jail run by Sardar Karamullah under the supervision of Liaqat, Ijaz, Sadiq, Mujtaba, Shah Nawaz, Rub Nawaz, Muhammad Nawaz and Abdul Hafeez. By cast all are Maheser and relatives.
When Amna was in private detention she was raped many times by Liaquat, Hafeez, Mujtaba and Ijaz and became pregnant. In the private detention she was also beaten by the feudal lord. One day Amna found a way to a letter as across from the private jail there was the house of her relative. She succeeded in throwing a letter next to the house (in villages in Pakistan houses of relatives are next to other and walls are small). The letter was taken was eventually delivered to Zulifqar. He immediately sent it to the Session Court Sukkur which took notice and ordered to that Amna be brought to the court.
When Amna was brought to court she was under severe stress as she was under instructions to give a statement in favor of the feudal lord and agree that she has married on her own will, otherwise they will kill her fiancé’s family. However, in the hearing Amna stood firm and told the truth and the Court decided to send her to the Dar-ul-Aman (Shelter Home). At that time she was eight months pregnant and gave birth to a baby in the home. Sadly the baby did not survive for long and died within a few hours after the birth. Amna arrived in the shelter on 31 June 2007 and was there for eleven months until she left with her fiancé on 4 May 2008.
Soon after she married with Zulifqar and when the feudal lord came to know about them he ordered an attack on their house. Fortunately, shortly before the attack Amna and Zulifqar left all belongings behind and escaped from the place. The attackers searched the house and took the wedding documents and other things. As they had lost their marriage contract they again married on 20 February 2010 in the presence of the Oath Commissioner in Rahimyaar Khan Punjab.
The man who made the charge against Amna, Sadiq, gave a statement that he forgave her and as a result the attempt to kill her was stopped. In meantime a Jirga was held under the most influential person and political member of Ghotki District Sardar Ali Gohar khan Mahar in which he gave his decision that Amna is Gahri (meaning “Red†, it is custom in the Pakistan that when a woman is innocent and not involved in any illicit act they call her Gahri and a woman who is involve in an illicit relation with another man is called “Kari†meaning “Back†). Mahar put a Rp 18 Lac fine on the accused who later went to Amna’s home with the Holy Quran and asked her to forgave the fine (this practice is also common in Pakistan, if a party comes with the Holy Quran for anything the other party must forgive them because it means if the other party refused to accept the apology they are refusing the Holy Quran and not showing respect for Holy Book).
However, despite the fact that Amna accepted the apology and the matter was supposedly settled another Jirga was held in which she was once again declared Kari. Since 2008 the couple has been living in hiding as the feudal lord and her brothers are waiting for a chance to kill her, the three children and her husband in the name of honor killings. The local rights-based organizations have approached the police on several occasions to take action against the perpetrators and allow the couple to settle in their house and live free from threats but the police from the Cantt Police Station, Pano Aqil, have never worked according to the law and always provided protection to the perpetrators.

ADDITIONAL INFORMATION:

A woman marrying out of choice is considered as taboo in the most areas of Pakistan. If any woman gets married of her own choice she is killed in the name of family honor. Honor killing is deeply rooted in the society of Pakistan especially in Sindh. There is no punishment for the accused and no compensation for the victims. In this case if Amna is killed in the name of honor her voice will vanish like those of many other women who are killed in the name of honor. Jirgas are made to settle the problems in which Sardars (Feudal) influential persons deal with the whole problem. There is no justice for the victims. The feudals don’t want to lose their power and if any family comes forward on the ground of education they are killed. In this case Amna’s father was educated and Amna was also under education but feudals wanted to keep her within the boundaries and asked her father to give her to him as he had no son so he wanted to marry with Amna. These issues are very common in Pakistan.
SUGGESTED ACTION:
Please write letters to the following authorities calling upon them to conduct an enquiry into the case of Amna. Please urge them to take action against the Cantt Police Station of Pano Aqil, Sindh, and prosecute them for not following the law and providing protection to the citizens. The accused should be arrested and full security should be provided to Amna and her family so that they can finally live free lives.
The AHRC is writing a separate letter to the UN Special Rapporteur on the Question of violence against women calling for her intervention into this matter.

To support this appeal, please click here ON THE ORIGINAL SITE:
SAMPLE LETTER:
Dear ___________,
PAKISTAN: A woman who chose to marry of her own choice is living under the threat of death by honor killing
Name of the victims:
1.Ms.Amna Maheser resident of Village Rojo Maheser PS (Police station) Cantt Sultanpur taluka Pano Akil, District Sukkur, Sindh province, PAKISTAN.
2.Mr.Zulifqar Ali Maheser resident of Village Rojo Maheser PS (Police station) Cantt Sultanpur taluka Pano Akil, District Sukkur, Sindh province, PAKISTAN.
Names of the alleged perpetrators:
Mr. Mohammad Sadiq S/O Mr. Khawand Baksh resident of Village Moula Ali, Taluka Pano Akil, District Sukkur, Sindh province, PAKISTAN.
Mr. Nasarullah Baksh resident of Village f Moula Ali, Taluka Pano Akil, District Sukkur, Sindh province, PAKISTAN
Mr. Muzafir Maheser Baksh resident of Village f Moula Ali, Taluka Pano Akil, District Sukkur, Sindh province, PAKISTAN
Mr. Shafiq Baksh resident of Village f Moula Ali, Taluka Pano Akil, District Sukkur, Sindh province, PAKISTAN
Mr. Mehyoun Mahesar Baksh resident of Village f Moula Ali, Taluka Pano Akil, District Sukkur, Sindh province, PAKISTAN
Mr. Sardar Karam Illahi Khan son of Mr. Allah Dino Baksh resident of Village f Moula Ali, Taluka Pano Akil, District Sukkur, Sindh province, PAKISTAN
Mr. Abdul Hafeez son of Mr. Mohammad Nawaz Baksh resident of Village f Moula Ali, Taluka Pano Akil, District Sukkur, Sindh province, PAKISTAN
Mr. Mohammad Nawaz S/O Mr. Molla Ali Baksh resident of Village f Moula Ali, Taluka Pano Akil, District Sukkur, Sindh province, PAKISTAN
Mr. Rab Nawaz S/O Mr. Mulla Ali Baksh resident of Village f Moula Ali, Taluka Pano Akil, District Sukkur, Sindh province, PAKISTAN
Mr. Shah Nawaz S/O Mr. Aag Dino Baksh resident of Village of Moula Ali, Taluka Pano Akil, District Sukkur, Sindh province, PAKISTAN
Mr. Ghulam Mujtaba S/O Mr. Imam Bakhsh Baksh resident of Village f Moula Ali, Taluka Pano Akil, District Sukkur, Sindh province, PAKISTAN
Mr. Sardar Liaquat Ali Khan S/O Mr. Allah Dino Baksh resident of Village f Moula Ali, Taluka Pano Akil, District Sukkur, Sindh province, PAKISTAN
Mr. Ijaz Ahmed S/O Mr. Imam Bux Baksh resident of Village f Moula Ali, Taluka Pano Akil, District Sukkur, Sindh province, PAKISTAN
Date of incident: September 4, 2006 and still continuing
Place of incident: Village Rojo Maheser PS (Police station) Cantt Sultanpur taluka Pano Akil, District Sukkur, Sindh province

I am writing to voice my deep concern regarding the case of Ms. Amna Maheser (29). Amna is the wife of Mr. Zulifqar Ali Maheser, resident of Village Rojo Maheser, Sultanpur taluka Pano Akil, District Sukkur, Sindh province, has been living under the threat of death since 2006 by a high government official, the feudal lord of the area and her brothers Mr. Mohammad Sadiq, Mr. Nasarullah and Mr. Muzafir Maheser and her cousins Mr. Shafiq and Mr. Mehyoun Mahesar.
Ms. Amna was engaged to her cousin Zulifqar. She consented willingly to this union as did her father. However, when her father died she was forced by her brothers and cousins to marry a 50-year-old man, Mr. Mohammad Suleman which she refused. Her relatives and siblings became angry because of her decision and tried to convince her to change her mind. I am appalled to learn that she was abducted and forcibly married to Mr. Suleman. Before the marriage she filed a case with the police to provide protection but, as is typical in these cases the police did not move.
I have learned that on 4 September 2006 when Amna was sitting with her fiancé Mr. Zulfiqar, her brother-in-law Mr. Liaquat Ali Mahesar, who working as an Assistant Director in the Employees Old Age Benefit Institution and a powerful person of the district entered her house with a mob and ordered the men to shoot the whole family as the police would not interfere. The nephews of Zulfiqar, Mr. Ijaz and Mr. Mujtaba, shot Amna in the chest and arm.
Amna’s advocate, Ms. Asmit Jahan, Legal Coordinator of Human Rights Sukkur, reached the scene of the incident with the police. Liaquat and his mob left the place before the police arrived leaving Amna unconscious and severely injured. Amna was sent to the Civil Hospital, Pano Akil immediately but due to lack of facilities she was shifted to the Civil Hospital Sukkur. Amna’s brothers and her cousins shifted her to Chandika Medical Home of the Hospital because they feared the human rights Activist, Asmat Jahan would try to assist her. After spending a few days in Chandka Hospital she was shifted to the house of her elder brother’s in laws in Larkana. There she was kept for a few weeks and after that she has shifted to a private jail run by Sardar Karamullah under the supervision of Liaqat, Ijaz, Sadiq, Mujtaba, Shah Nawaz, Rub Nawaz, Muhammad Nawaz and Abdul Hafeez. By cast all are Maheser and relatives.
It is shocking that when Amna was in private detention she was raped there many times by Liaquat, Hafeez, Mujtaba and Ijaz and became pregnant. In the private detention she was also beaten by the feudal lord. One day Amna found a way to a letter as across from the private jail there was the house of her relative. She succeeded in throwing a letter next to the house (in villages in Pakistan houses of relatives are next to other and walls are small). The letter was taken was eventually delivered to Zulifqar. He immediately sent it to the Session Court Sukkur which took notice and ordered to that Amna be brought to the court.
When Amna was brought to court she was under severe stress as she was under instructions to give a statement in favor of the feudal lord and agree that she has married on her own will, otherwise they will kill her fiancé’s family. However, in the hearing Amna stood firm and told the truth and the Court decided to send her to the Dar-ul-Aman (Shelter Home). At that time she was eight months pregnant and gave birth to a baby in the home. Sadly the baby did not survive for long and died within a few hours of the birth. Amna arrived in the shelter on 31 June 2007 and was there for eleven months until she left with her fiancé on 4 May 2008.
Soon after she married with Zulifqar and when the feudal lord came to know about them he ordered an attack on their house. Fortunately, shortly before the attack Amna and Zulifqar left all belongings behind and escaped from the place. The attackers searched the house and took the wedding documents and other things. As they had lost their marriage contract they again married on 20 February 2010 in the presence of the Oath Commissioner in Rahimyaar Khan Punjab.
I have learned that the man who made the charge against Amna, Sadiq, gave a statement that he forgave her and as a result the attempt to kill her was stopped. In meantime a Jirga was held under the most influential person and political member of Ghotki District Sardar Ali Gohar khan Mahar in which he gave his decision that Amna is Gahri (meaning “Red†, it is custom in the Pakistan that when a woman is innocent and not involved in any illicit act they call her Gahri and a woman who is involve in an illicit relation with another man is called “Kari†meaning “Back†). Mahar put a Rp 18 Lac fine on the accused who later went to Amna’s home with the Holy Quran and asked her to forgave the fine (this practice is also common in Pakistan, if a party comes with the Holy Quran for anything the other party must forgive them because it means if the other party refused to accept the apology they are refusing the Holy Quran and not showing respect for Holy Book).
However, despite the fact that Amna accepted the apology and the matter was supposedly settled another Jirga was held in which she was once again declared Kari. Since 2008 the couple has been living in hiding as the feudal lord and her brothers are waiting for a chance to kill her, the three children and her husband in the name of honor killings. The local rights-based organizations have approached the police on several occasions to take action against the perpetrators and allow the couple to settle in their house and live free from threats but the police from the Cantt Police Station, Pano Aqil, have never worked according to the law and always provided protection to the perpetrators.
I therefore urge you to ensure that the authorities conduct an enquiry into Amna’s case. Please urge them to take action against the Cantt Police Station of Pano Aqil, Sindh, and prosecute them for not following the law and providing protection to the citizens. The accused should be arrested and full security should be provided to Amna and her family so that they live free lives. The feudal lord that illegally imprisoned Amna and the men that raped her must be prosecuted to the fullest extent of the law.
Amna and her family deserve and have every right to live in peace.
Yours sincerely,





PLEASE SEND YOUR LETTERS TO:

1. Mr. Mian Nawaz Sharif
Prime Minister
Prime Minister House
Islamabad
PAKISTAN
Fax: +92 51 922 1596
Tel: +92 51 920 6111
E-mail: secretary cabinet.gov.pk or pspm pmsectt.gov.pk

2. Federal Minister of Law and Human Rights
Ministry of Law, Justice and Human Rights
Old US Aid building
Ata Turk Avenue
G-5, Islamabad
PAKISTAN
Fax: +92 51 9204108
Email: sarfraz_yousuf yahoo.com

3. Chaudhry Nisar Ali Khan
Federal Minister For Interior
R Block,Pak Secretariat
Islamabad (Pakistan)
Tele : 0092-51-9212026
Fax: 0092-51-9202624
Email Address:
interior.complaintcell gmail.com
ministry.interior gmail.com

4. Syed Qaim Ali Shah
Chief Minister
Karachi, Sindh Province
PAKISTAN
Fax: +92 21 920 2000
Email: pressecy cmsindh.gov.pk

5. Additional Chief Secretary (Home)
Tughlaq House,
Karachi, Sindh province
Government of Sindh
Fax: +92 21 99211549
Sindh secretariat
Karachi, Sindh
secretary home.gos.pk

6. Dr. Faqir Hussain
Registrar
Supreme Court of Pakistan
Constitution Avenue, Islamabad
PAKISTAN
Fax: +92 51 9213452
Email: mail supremecourt.gov.pk

7. Chief Justice of Sindh High Court
High Court Building
Saddar, Karachi
Sindh Province
PAKISTAN
Fax: +92 21 9213220
E-mail: info sindhhighcourt.gov.pk

Thank you.
Urgent Appeals Programme 
Asian Human Rights Commission (ua ahrc.asia)





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