Abbottabad jirga ordered teenage girl be 'set ablaze for helping friend elope'

Published: May 5, 2016
The victim was killed then burned in a Suzuki van on the orders of the village jirga PHOTO: EXPRESS

The victim was killed then burned in a Suzuki van on the orders of the village jirga PHOTO: EXPRESS

PESHAWAR / ABBOTABAD: A woman was drugged, strangled and then her body set ablaze because she helped her friend elope, police said Thursday, announcing the arrest of 14 people in a twist on the grim practice of “honour killings”.

Ambreen, believed to be around 20 years old, was killed then burned in a Suzuki van on the orders of the village jirga (council) in Makol on April 29, District Police Officer Khurram Rasheed told AFP.

“Police have arrested 13 members of the jirga who ordered the murder of the girl,” Rasheed said. The victim’s mother was also arrested, he said, because she supported the jirga’s decision.

The 14 are due to appear in a local anti-terrorism court Thursday on murder and terrorism charges, he said.

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“Police have traced the accused through mobile data and they were picked up one after another. The accused confessed during the investigation that a few months back Saima, a school girl from the same village and tribe, eloped with her boyfriend and Ambreen facilitated their frequent meetings and later their elopement,” the DPO said.

The police officer while sharing the statements of accused said: “In order to discuss the elopement of Saima, a village jirga was convened at the house of Naseer Ahmed on April 28 that was headed by Pervez, the village council nazim and the master mind of the girl burning case.”

The owner of the van was also a member of the jirga. His van was burned because the eloping woman — who is believed to be safely in hiding — travelled in it when she ran away.

The jirga members, who all are known for their bad characters, according to the DPO, condemned the role of Ambreen and Naseer and later after long deliberations, decided that punishment of elopement of Saima and facilitation should be so severe that no girl could ever dare to run away in future.

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“The Jirga members issued a decree that Ambreen and Naseer must face punishment for bringing dishonour to the tribe. Later, the accused first took the girl to an abandoned house near the village’s mosque where they first sedated her with some medicines before strangling her to death. Following her death the victim’s body was tied to the rear seat of Naseer’s van and set on fire.”

Hundreds of women are murdered by their relatives in Pakistan each year on the pretext of defending family “honour”, but it is rare to hear of those who facilitate elopements being killed as well.

Pakistan amended its criminal code in 2005 to prevent men who kill female relatives escaping punishment by pardoning themselves as an “heir” of the victim.

But it is left to a judge’s discretion to decide whether to impose a prison sentence when other relatives of the victim forgive the killer — a loophole which critics say remains exploited.

“A Girl in the River: The Price of Forgiveness” — a film telling the story of a rare survivor of an attempted honour killing — won the Academy Award for best documentary short in February.

Amid publicity for the film, Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif vowed to eradicate the “evil” of honour killings but no fresh legislation has been tabled since then.

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Reader Comments (14)

  • Rickylogan
    May 5, 2016 - 2:22PM

    Divided by nation, United by honour killing !!!


  • Kuvempu
    May 5, 2016 - 3:08PM


    Do you have guts to prosecute these jirga people?
    Moderators: pl publish this.Recommend

  • Palwasha Bibi
    May 5, 2016 - 4:11PM

    I have hope that Nepal/Bhutan/Burma will one day be great developed countries, but I have no hope that there will be any positive change in this country pakistan. No Hope!!!Recommend

  • Azzy
    May 5, 2016 - 8:44PM

    Utterly Disgusting.Recommend

  • Sodomite
    May 6, 2016 - 1:20AM

    Shocking Jirga justice. All of them should face similar justice. An eye for an eye. Recommend

  • numbersnumbers
    May 6, 2016 - 1:32AM

    ET needs to open a new section of the paper where these cases are reviewed once a month by ET after a few weeks/months to report whether justice was ever served!Recommend

  • May 6, 2016 - 2:12AM

    Are Jirga people same as Hijra people.Recommend

  • tribune confused
    May 6, 2016 - 2:25AM

    Same town that OBL lived like a king in — coincidence? Anyone think that this jirga is going to actually spent time in jail. Answer to both questions – nope. Recommend

  • El Chapo
    May 6, 2016 - 3:23AM

    Pakistan need to move forward. Make Jirga council illegal everywhere in Pakistan with punishment of lifetime. Time to bring these tribal people into mainstream. No one is above the law.Recommend

  • Hakim Afghan
    May 6, 2016 - 7:23AM

    I am 99.99% sure those Jirga elders are 100% uneducated and even did not goto school for basic knowledge of how to write/read and at the same time they are judging life of an innocent human being. It’s a shame!

    R.I.P sister.Recommend

  • May 6, 2016 - 8:50AM

    Absolutely horrifying! Even after seventy years, the weakness of our system is maddening. Now, since the jirga members are caught, give them a swift trial and punishment by public hanging. Salaams Recommend

  • Yasser
    May 6, 2016 - 9:41AM

    Yet the Moulvi’s would say Sharmeen Obaid (not these Jirgas) hurt Pakistan’s image Internationally!Recommend

  • Muhibullah
    May 6, 2016 - 11:44PM

    Why can’t both Jirgas and misrepresenting propagandists like Chinoy, both be a problem? It’s not a binary issue where any criticism of Chinoy would mean support of immoral, illegal and unjust jirgas.Recommend

  • afaq
    Aug 19, 2016 - 11:18AM

    Really a tragic incident,cant believe..Recommend

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