Fakhra’s testimony was never heard, says petition

Published: April 3, 2012

Fakhra Yunus

KARACHI: 

Nearly nine years ago a court acquitted a man charged with attacking Fakhra Younus with acid – without hearing what she had to say.

This point, among others, has become the grounds on which a group of people have filed a petition to have to case reopened. The petition has been filed by the Pakistan Institute for Labour and Education Research (PILER), social worker Javed Iqbal Burki, Najma Sadiq of Shirkatgah and Saeed Baloch of the Pakistan Fisherfolk Forum.

On Monday, their lawyer Faisal Siddiqui also pointed out that neither was Fakhra medically examined at the time

At the time of the attack she was married to Malik Bilal Mustafa Khar, the son of veteran politician and former Punjab chief minister Ghulam Mustafa Khar.

The case

According to the petition, on May 14, 2000, a person threw acid on Fakhra in her flat. Her brother Irfan Malik was also burnt and she was disfigured. Her mother Shahida Malik registered an FIR (No. 33/2000) with Napier police station the same day. According to the petitioner, Fakhra’s husband Bilal Khar surrendered himself after being on the run for two years. He went before the court of the district and sessions judge South then presided over by Agha Rafique Ahmed Khan, who is now the chief justice of the Federal Shariat Court.

Bilal Khar’s lawyer was Shahadat Awan, who is currently the prosecutor general of Sindh. Khar was acquitted as all four eyewitnesses, including Fakhra’s mother and brother, retracted their earlier statements before the police.

The trial court acquitted Khar for want of evidence while Fakhra was taken to Italy by Tehmina Khar, the estranged wife of Ghulam Mustafa Khar, who vowed to get justice.

And now

The petitioners’ lawyer Faisal Siddiqui said that it was feared that the case record would be tampered with or documents could go missing. As a result, on Monday, Justice Maqbool Baqar and Justice Shafi Siddiqui of the Sindh High Court called for the entire record of the case to be preserved.

The petitioners have also appealed to the court to declare the March 16, 2003 judgment passed by the DJ South as illegal. They want a retrial and orders directing the sub-ordinate courts to ensure that evidence is recorded in an atmosphere free of intimidation.

The petitioner also maintains that trial courts should be asked to be sensitive and cautious in cases involving violence against women.

Published in The Express Tribune, April 3rd, 2012.

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Reader Comments (9)

  • papoo piplia
    Apr 3, 2012 - 7:18AM

    Hang Bilal Khar if found guilty. Feudalism is a malignant cancer that needs to be annihilated from Pakistani society. And its greatest proponent is the PPP.

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  • Ali
    Apr 3, 2012 - 2:32PM

    Muslim League pre-partition was a feudal and zamindar populated party which was the reason abolishment of the feudalism was never on the agenda. Amongst many other reasons, it was one of the issue why Maulana Abul Kalam Azad and Jawaharlal Nehru never wanted to work with Muslim League owing to their socialistic inclinations. Unfortunately these people led their doctrines after Pakistan was created and continued with their feudal trends and never abolished the system whereas Nehru did it in India. We have lost so much of human capital because of this disease and i can only hope( i know i am hoping against hope) that someone takes care of it.

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  • current
    Apr 3, 2012 - 3:02PM

    agree with pappoo

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  • farhan
    Apr 3, 2012 - 3:05PM

    Without maligning Bilal Sahab and attacking his person, it would be good to re try the case. Im not sure what legal barriers are there or how the delays etc will prevent the case from going into re trial. But at least, some further truth or alternate views will come to light. One person and one person will have a strong role in this whole affair – the so called husband who rented the girl and then parted ways for whatever reason to go back to his ways.

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  • REBEL
    Apr 3, 2012 - 3:12PM

    Hang Bilal Khar.

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  • Mandeep Vaid
    Apr 3, 2012 - 3:28PM

    What a beautiful and sweet girl and how gruesome her “bhagya”.

    According to our buddhist philosophy nothing happens incidently in life, every small movement in this universe is subject to the mystical laws of nature.

    Fakhra Jaan on behalf of our Buddhist community, Berlin our sincere Love, we chant for you every evening………………………..We Are All On The Way!

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  • Parvez
    Apr 3, 2012 - 3:57PM

    All credit and full marks to the Sindh High Court for giving this the attention it deserves.

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  • Wow
    Apr 3, 2012 - 4:40PM

    What a gorgeous face, how sad is this world? can you imagine the pain both physical and mental.. torture is an understatement.

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  • hani
    Apr 5, 2012 - 1:24AM

    @papoo piplia:
    what is wrong with the people up there can’t they all just get along. the men seem to have a big ego problem that they need to work on, you know what i guess things will never change

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