RAHIM YAR KHAN: In the small hours of Saturday night, the family of 18-year-old Amna raised a hue and cry that the girl had died of a heart attack. The truth, however, was that Amna had been killed by her family members over a suspected ‘romantic liasion’.
Four days ago, Amna was found sitting with Siraj in a sugar-cane field near Rahim Yar Khan. Upon finding the couple together, Amna’s brother and her father Ramzan Naunari assumed that a love affair had already blossomed between the two. They hurled verbal abuse at Siraj as he scurried away from the spot.
As per tradition, a jirga was convened to decide punishment for the ‘culprits’. Relatives of Siraj and Amna, along with the Sardar of the area , were in attendance at the jirga hearing, which proceeded all night long.
The local jury deemed Amna kari and ordered her execution. Amna’s brothers hanged her to death as opposed to the custom of shooting on their own accord a few hours after the jirga hearing, which made her the sixth girl in five years to be killed in the name of honour.
After an anonymous caller related the story of Amna’s murder, the police arrived in Amna’s village only to learn that her body was already taken for burial. Police officials questioned the haste with which the body was taken for burial, and that too without an autopsy.
Union Nazim Sardar Jam Mushtaq said that authorities were welcome to carry out a postmortem as per legal requirements, however, it would prove futile as no murder had taken place. Mushtaq also swore to take personal responsibility if it was ever proved that Amna’s death was the result of a murder.
However, Station House Officer Saifullah told The Express Tribune that Amna’s brother confessed that he hanged his sister. He said than an FIR was lodged against Amna’s brother and brother-in-law for killing in the name of honour.
On the other hand, a neighbour of Amna’s said that the story about the sugar-cane field was contrived. The real story was that Amna had eloped from home to marry Siraj and was later brought back to the village. The story of her meeting with Siraj was used as a pretext to declare her punishable in the absence of evidence.
*Name of the victim has been changed.
Published in The Express Tribune, December 31st, 2012.