A woman whose hair and eyebrows were shaved allegedly by her in-laws over a quarrel has complained that the police were pressuring her to withdraw the complaint.
Saima* Bibi told The Express Tribune that police had contacted her uncle and asked him to settle the matter out of court. She said her brother-in-law, Zulfiqar, had attempted to sexually assault her but the police had not included the charge in the FIR they had registered against him and his mother, Amina, after the two assaulted her and expelled her from their house.
She said she and her husband, Sarfaraz, had had a quarrel with his family and left the house over a month ago. “We moved with one of Sarfaraz’s friends in Candan Sial village where we stayed for several days,” she said. She said the couple had returned to their village after elders of the two villages intervened and negotiated a settlement between them and Sarfaraz’s family. However, the victim said, her mother-in-law would frequently harass her and accuse her of inciting her husband against his family. “She (mother-in-law) would curse me and say “you have cast a spell on my son,” the victim said.
On December 17, she said, she had an argument with her mother-in-law. Her when her brother-in-law joined his mother and started beating her.
“They beat me and shaved my hair and eyebrows after I had resisted Zulfiqar’s attempt to sexually assault me,” she alleged.
Phalora police rejected the impression that they were partial in the investigations. Sub Inspector Nawaz said Zulfiqar had been arrested on December 18, a day after the alleged assault, and sent to the jail on a judicial remand. He said Amina had been released on bail at the request of Pasrur magistrate Zulfiqar Hussain Chaudhry. “Police can release suspects on bail. This does not mean that the woman has been acquitted of the charges. That decision will be taken by a court,” he said. He said all charges brought by the complainant, Saima’s maternal uncle Muhammad Sakhi, in his application had been mentioned in the FIR. “He said his niece had been attacked and her hair and eyebrows shaved. He didn’t mention sexual assault,” the SI said.
Phalora police have registered the FIR under Sections 337-B and 506 of the Pakistan Penal Code.
Pakistan Penal Code Section 337-B (Jurh)
(1) Whoever causes on any part of the body of a person, other than the head or face, a hurt which leaves a mark of the wound, whether temporary or permanent, is said to cause jurh.
(2) Jurh is of two kinds, namely:-
(a) Jaifah ; and
Section 506 (Punishment for criminal intimidation)
Whoever commences the offence of criminal intimidation shall be punished with imprisonment of either description for a term which may extend to two years or with fine or with both.
And if the threat be to cause death or grievous hurt, or to cause the destruction of any property by fire, or to cause an offence punishable with death or imprisonment for life, or with imprisonment for a term which may extend to seven years, or to impute unchastely to a woman, shall be punished with imprisonment of either description for a term which may extend to seven years, or with fine, or with both.
Published in The Express Tribune, December 23rd, 2011.
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