Four people have been booked on charges of forcing a woman to have an abortion against her wishes and those of her family. Police officials filed a case against the girl’s husband, her mother-in-law and the doctor involved in conducting the procedure.
According to police officials, Firdous Mahmood was two months pregnant and had married against her families wishes three months ago. Police claimed that the accused forced Firdous into getting an abortion to make it possible for her husband, Asif Mahmood, to contract a second marriage.
“The couple had eloped against the wishes of both families but after a few months Asif wanted to leave her and contract a second marriage,” said the Asif’s neighbour Saba Altaf. “I tried to tell Firdous what was happening because he had told my husband of his intentions but she wasn’t willing to hear anything against him,” she added.
Firdous discovered that she was pregnant last week and told her husband. “I thought that he would be happy but both he and my mother-in-law kept silent about the issue,” she later told police. Last week, Asif Mahmood and his mother Sardaran Bibi took Firdous to the clinic of Muhammad Aslam, who is a local hakeem. “They initially told me that we were going to the market. My mother-in-law said she wanted to buy me a new suit to celebrate the pregnancy but I was brought to a quack’s clinic in Ada Mureed Wala,” she said. “They told me that it was just a check up and they wanted to make sure my baby and I were healthy,” Fidous said.
Firdous told police officials, that after check up clinic in-charge Muhammad Aslam asked a nurse, Nazia Bibi, to set up a drip for her. “They told me that my water level needed to be increased and that I was weak, so I let them,” she said. “I was unconscious after that and they performed the procedure without telling me. When I came to I knew that something was wrong because I was bleeding,” she told police.
Firdous said that her husband Asif, his mother and the doctor Aslam had forced her into an abortion against her wishes and that she wanted to press charges against the accused. She told the police that her in-laws were unhappy over her marriage with Asif and had often asked him to divorce her. “I never believed he would side with them because he loved me but after this I know that he was involved,” she added.
“My mother-in-law has always wanted Asif to marry her niece. She is trying to get us divorced and that is why she orchestrated all this,” she said.
“He wouldn’t have been allowed to divorce me while I was pregnant so this was part of their plan to get rid of me,” Firdous told police officials.
Mureedwala Station House Officer (SHO) Muhammad Iqbal has registered a case against three accused for forcibly terminating Firdous’s pregnancy after a week. Firdous said that initially the police refused to register a case against the accused as they were influential in the local area. “I kept trying to file a case but they didn’t agree. Ultimately, I moved a petition before the additional sessions judge in Samundari, who ordered the registration of the case,” she said.
SHO Mureedwala Muhmmad Iqbal confirmed that the case has now been registered against all the accused persons on the direction of the court. “We are investigating the matter and we have shut down the illegal clinic being run by Aslam,” he said.
Published in The Express Tribune, June 1st, 2011.