Ghulam Hussain, a ‘pious man and a loving father’, drastically cut short the lives of his three children.
Kiran, 7, Farhan, 5, and 18-month-old Muqadas went with their father to the Chashma right bank canal in DI Khan district last Sunday, when Hussain threw them into the water. By Wednesday, only Muqadas’ body had been found, while search for Farhan and Kiran’s bodies was still ongoing.
Friends and family are at a loss to understand what made Hussain kill his three children. “His wife Azma Bibi moved out of her house and is now living with her sister,” Waliullah, a relative and neighbour, told The Express Tribune. After the murders, Azma is left with her five-month-old son Shayan.
Hussain’s elder brother, Dost Muhammad, said he along with some other relatives reached the canal when they heard about the incident. “Ghulam Hussain was wandering like a lunatic when we caught him. To every question about his children, his only answer was “What have I done?”
The children’s shoes lay by the bank and their footprints and fingerprints were visible on the wall. “It seems they must have really struggled to be rescued,” he told The Express Tribune.
“We are peasants and do not own any land. How can there be family disputes between us?” he said, rejecting claims of personal disputes forcing Hussain to kill the three children.
Muhammad said the Chashma Sugar Mill had not paid their landlord Ibrahim Khan for sugarcane and the landowner had in turn delayed payments to the peasants. “The day Ghulam Hussain threw his children into the canal he visited me in the morning and asked about the money which the sugar mill authorities owed us. I told him they had not paid us yet; he listened to me calmly and left.”
Gomal University Police Station SHO Ashraf Khan, however, claimed a family dispute led to the murders. “He wanted money from his brothers to make toilets at his house and when they refused he became angry and committed the heinous crime.”
In Hussain’s defence, Abdul Basit, a close friend and relative, said he was a religious man and prayed five times a day. “He loved his children and we would often see him taking them for a ride on his bicycle. His children were studying at a madrassa nearby.”
On Sunday, the police had suggested that Hussain slaughtered his children before throwing them into the water. “However, Ghulam Hussain changed his statement later and said he did not kill his children before drowning them,” a police officer from Dera Town Police Station said.
Hussain has accepted his crime in court after which he was transferred to Central Jail DI Khan. He is being charged under sections 302 and 201 of the Pakistan Penal Code.
Published in The Express Tribune, April 12th, 2012.