As Zahida was being allegedly attacked by her brother-in-law on Wednesday, two of her children played outside the house, unaware of the gruesome way their mother was being killed.
Zahida, 37, was reportedly strangled, shot and then burned to death in her house by her sister’s husband, Muneer Ahmed. The house, in Bhittaiabad, is in the limits of the Sachal police station.
Her husband and relatives, who had gathered at the Civil hospital morgue, were initially reluctant to explain why she had been killed.
One theory was that an electrician’s visit to Zahida’s house to fix the water pumping machine, while her husband was not at home, irked the alleged murderer. He reportedly blamed Zahida for being ‘immoral’ and fought with her before he killed her.
However, the family is unwilling to register an FIR against their own relative. And want to get done with her burial in their hometown Khairpur before taking care of legal formalities.
Zahida’s husband told The Express Tribune that he was at work when a relative informed him about the incident. “I rushed home hoping that I could save my wife. But she was already dead when I reached home.”
He stared at Zahida’s picture stored on his cell phone — her once long hair and plump figure was reduced to burnt remains on a stretcher.
According to sources at the hospital, a bullet pierced through her backbone. She was strangulated, tied to a sofa and then burnt. It was unclear if kerosene oil or petrol had been used.
Zahida was a homemaker who worked briefly as a health officer in Khairpur before her marriage. The family claims that unlike people in their village, they do not mistreat their women.
“We are not uneducated that we would kill our women, or would keep within the four walls of the house. But this man was an animal,” said Ahmed’s older brother Imdad, referring to the alleged murderer.
The sister of the alleged culprit said that the family disowned him. “He has always been sick-minded. He threatened to kill me too as he believed I had a bad character,” she said. Azhar, the SHO of Sachal police station, says that the man is on the run. He ruled out that there were any accomplices involved.
While two of Zahida’s four children were playing outside the house, the others were at school. “They are too terrified too talk,” said Ahmed, their father. “I haven’t gotten the chance to talk to them. Let’s see what happens.”
Published in The Express Tribune, January 5th, 2012.