Lal Khatoon has managed a feat few women have in Sindh: escaping death over allegations of karo kari.
She provided a dramatic account of how she escaped her husband and made her way to a woman’s shelter in Sukkur, where she now wants to live.
A resident of village Thari, near Arore in Rohri, Lal Khatoon discovered almost a week ago that her husband’s brothers had hatched a plot to kill her.
According to Lal Khatoon, Mohammad Ilyas Malik, her husband of eight years, was a ‘drug user and gambler’ and often used to beat her.
She said that she gave birth to a son five years ago, but the child died when he was two days old.
It was her sister-in-law who provided her with details of the murder plot. Ruqaiya, married to Lal Khatoon’s brother-in-law Ameer Bux Malik, told Lal Khatoon that Ameer Bux and his brother Rasool Bux were planning to kill her. They plotted to accuse her on charges of being in a relationship with her cousin, Abdul Karim Malik. “She gave me Rs500 and asked me to leave the house, so I fled my home last Wednesday,” Lal Khatoon said.
She managed to hitch a ride with a truck, and the driver dropped her off in Rohri town. There, she met Aziz Shaikh and his wife Shahida. After they heard her story, they took her to their house in Khairpur.
However, death’s shadow loomed large. Lal Khatoon said, “I overheard the husband and wife planning to sell me, so I left their home in the early morning.”
From Khairpur, she boarded a wagon and went to Sukkur. She went to the SSP’s office and told him of her ordeal, and he sent her to the women’s shelter so she could go to the court afterwards. The police say her court appearance is scheduled for Tuesday morning.
Lal Khatoon says she wants a divorce from her husband and then live at the shelter since she has nowhere else to go. “My mother is in Shikarpur and my stepfather is not ready to let me live with them,” she said.
Teen ‘kidnapping’ leads to protest
The alleged kidnapping of a 17-year-old girl sparked a sit-in at the National Highway near Mirpur Mathelo Bypass on Monday.
According to reports, on Sunday night a group of armed men broke into Mehran Chohan’s house in Chohan Colony. The men reportedly overpowered the residents, kidnapped Chohan’s daughter and fled.
On Monday morning, scores of men from the Chohan community led by Mehran and his son Jamal Din Chohan amassed to stage a protest against the alleged kidnapping and the police’s attitude.
Protesters burnt tyres and blocked the road, resulting in a one-hour suspension of traffic. They criticised the police, and told journalists that they had informed the police shortly after the alleged kidnapping but it had not taken any action or received their complaint.
The SHO Mirpur Mathelo arrived at the protest site with police officers and spoke to the protestors. He assured them of the girl’s recovery and the arrest of those responsible, which convinced the demonstrators to call off their protest.
Based on Jamal Din’s complaint, the police registered a case against seven people including Dado Chachar, Akbar Chachar and Amanullah Sial. However, sources disputed the account of the kidnapping and said that the girl had reportedly fallen in love with Dado Chachar. Since her parents were against the couple being wed, she had eloped with Chachar and married him of her own will.
Published in The Express Tribune, May 29th, 2012.