Traumatised by silence, jirga victim speaks up

Jirga victim who was paraded naked plans to relocate.

Express June 15, 2011
Traumatised by silence, jirga victim speaks up


Notwithstanding the insult and humiliation already suffered, a victim of a most grotesque form of public abuse says that she has been crushed by the apathy of her village community.

Shaheen* will now relocate somewhere else because living with people who seemed unmoved despite seeing her being paraded naked through the streets was itself a trauma which she could not bear.

On June 8, a jirga of the Neelor Bala village in Haripur district found Shaheen’s son guilty of raping a local’s wife. The man, along with three others, and with the blessing of the jirga, is alleged to have attacked Shaheen, stripped her and proceeded to parade her naked through the streets.

On Tuesday, Shaheen recorded a statement, along with her husband, before a Judicial Magistrate Court confirming the incident.

While recording her statement under section 164 of the PPC, the victim sought strict action against all accused, who are still at large.

But they are not the only ones.

Talking to The Express Tribune, she blamed the village’s jirga for her entire ordeal as, according to her, they did not even bother to ask for any  clarification or probe the allegations against her son.

“They just arbitrarily passed the judgment to divorce the pregnant woman and bring me disgrace publicly,” she said, adding that if her son was at fault they would have brought him to justice or even “shot at him” rather than setting up their own court. She said that although their judgment satisfied their animal instinct, for her it has created a stigma that she will have to live with. “Living in the same village will inevitably cause further disputes. So, I will take my children somewhere else.”

The background

“Sadia* had become pregnant while her husband Shabbir* was away in Lahore. Upon returning, he enquired from her about the pregnancy and she accused Karim*, son of Shaheen, and his friend Arshad* of having raped her,” Shaheen’s younger brother Muhammad Asif* had told The Express Tribune. Before recording her statement in court on Tuesday, Shaheen, 45, held a press conference at the Haripur press club, narrating details of the incident.

She said four armed men – Shabbir and three of his brothers Arsalan,  Manzoor and Imran –  dragged her out of her home and paraded her naked in the village. The motive behind the abuse, she said, was alleged illicit relations between her son Karim and Sadia.She added that Shabbir also torched her belongings as well as Arshad’s house.

Help sought

Shaheen also sought the help of local NGOs and the police for the recovery of her two sons Karim and Obaid* who, according to her, have been missing since the evening of the incident.

Superintendent Police Najib Bhagvi confirmed to The Express Tribune that a case under sections 34, 506, 109, 436, 427, 354-A and 202 of the PPC has been registered with the Saddar police station against the four accused as well as the jirga members. Two members of the jirga – Raqeeb and Abdul Latif – have been booked, while raids are underway in search of the rest of the accused.

Meanwhile, representatives of local human rights NGO Human Development Organisation, Sahara Foundation and Rural Development Project met with District Police Officer Muhammad Ali Gandapur, and requested adequate security arrangements for the victim. They also announced to provide free legal aid to her. *All names have been changed to protect identities

Published in The Express Tribune, June 15th, 2011.


Billoo Bhaya | 13 years ago | Reply Pakistan's police, its judiciary and its executive branch are useless as we have seen in many instances and cannot protect the citizen of Pakistan. They only help when a gun is pointed to their head, otherwise incidents by jirgas and the rich happen daily because the police is in their pockets. Even the trigger happy army is shooting its citizens. Now where will Shaheen and her family go. I have yet to hear from the CM of any bloody province, and they want to make more provinces, how they are going to help this devastated family. Of course, in the West the Church will stand up to help, have you ever heard a Mullah or a Mullah party stand up for such victims. They are the ones producing such victims.
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