GUJRANWALA: At the heart of the dispute that killed four people, including three Britons, in Marariyan village near Gujrat is a divorce case, say villagers.
Britons Mohammad Yousaf, his wife Nusrat and the couple’s daughter Tania were visiting their village after a four-year period. And on Thursday afternoon, the three were gunned down along with Yousaf’s cousins Pervez Akhtar and Khurshid Arif in a cemetery.
The story the villagers narrate is of marital discord. Some five years ago, the Yousafs had arranged for the marriage of their son Qamar with Yousaf’s cousin Khurshid Arif’s daughter. “But for the last four years, we’d been hearing stories of how the marriage was on the rocks and the couple were filing for a divorce,” said the villagers thronged outside the morgue. “It soured the relationship between the two families who stopped talking to each other.”
“When the Yousafs came to Marariyan, the Arifs decided to ‘settle’ matters on their own,” says investigating officer Mohammad Miraj Baig, who is the sub-inspector at Rehmania police station. “The plan seems to have been for Arif to escort the Yousafs and Akhtar to the cemetery where they would be gunned down.”
And so it was. At the graveyard were Arif’s brothers Naveed, Naeem and Shiraz, a guard Qamar Abbas as well as an unidentified assailant, who took up positions on three sides of the small cemetery. “They used a Kalashnikov, an 8 mm handgun as well as a 30-bore pistol,” says the IO. “But in the heat of the moment, they ended up gunning down their own brother Khurshid as well.” The five men have disappeared since.
Yousaf’s brother Chaudhry Mohammad Anwer has filed an FIR with the police, nominating the Arif brothers, Abbas as well as the mystery man for the murders of his two cousins, his sister-in-law and his niece. Meanwhile, the Arifs are also said to be considering filing a counter FIR, nominating Qamar Yousaf, who arrived in Pakistan on Thursday, and Anwer.
However, those familiar with the politics and dynamics of the Gujjar clan don’t expect the issue to be resolved this way. “The filing of FIRs is just a move to distract the police; the feuding families usually settle scores themselves,” says a local journalist. “We’re just bracing ourselves for another round of killings.”