MULTAN: Two young women were murdered in the name of ‘honour’ while they were returning home from the Multan district jail on a donkey cart on Saturday.
Khursheed (21) and Nadra (23) were returning to their home town of Mozah Marhaata in the Pir Adil village of Dera Ghazi Khan.
The two women were allegedly trying to escape a forced marriage. According to the girls’ housemaid, they were cousins and were trying to avoid being forcefully wed to their paternal cousins. “They left their home nearly 18 days ago and we didn’t hear from them. The men of the family were searching for their whereabouts,” housemaid Aleena said.
Police officials said the women were apprehended by swindlers and were forced into prostitution. “We arrested them from a brothel on December 3 in Fateh Noor and they told us what had happened,” the superintendent of police, Azam Kamal, said. “We had initially registered a case against them for soliciting customers and they were in jail but were released on bail on Sunday at 6:30 pm,” he said. Police officials confirmed that the women had been arrested in Fateh Noor and were later sent to the Multan district jail. “The case became known in the area and their relatives must have found out,” Kamal said, adding that a few hours after the women were released they were ambushed. Police officials said that Mumtaz and Ghulam Hussain, their fiancés, opened fire on them. “We have been told that the girls’ father and uncle were also part of the attackers,” Kamal said.
Police officials said that the family members were trying to bury the bodies when the station house officer (SHO), Ilm Din, managed to recover the bodies of the victims and sent them for a post mortem. “They were trying to do it all secretly.
The men stood in the shade of the trees and one of the boys was digging up the graves when we caught them,” Din said. Khursheed’s father, Muhammad Azeem, said that he would register a case against Mumtaz and others for the murder of his daughter. “I still maintain that the families of the girls knew about the incident and were behind it but we will discover the truth in the investigation,” SHO Ilm Din said, adding that even Azeem was present at the burial site but immediately changed his story when the police began to interrogate him.
Neighbours of the family have told the police that they had seen all the men of the family chase after the girls when they left the village.
“They openly said that the women would not return home alive because they had dishonoured their families,” said Azeem’s neighbour Shaukat Anwar.
“We are currently waiting for the post mortem report but we have arrested all the men present at the burial site,” Din said. Police officials have begun an investigation and have taken all the accused into custody.
Published in The Express Tribune, December 14th, 2010.