Exorcism: ‘She’ll never walk but at least she’s free of the djinn’

Published: July 2, 2011
Pir told her parents that the djinn
had been exorcised and that the only way to get rid of the demon was to burn her and beat it out.

Pir told her parents that the djinn had been exorcised and that the only way to get rid of the demon was to burn her and beat it out.


A pir beat a woman, while performing an exorcism on Friday morning.

According to a nurse at Nishtar Hospital, Katchi Abadi resident Zakia was taken to a local pir by her family after she began to have an asthma attack. The pir, Safdar Khan, took the woman into a room and tied her up with rope. He then stuck a burning poker through her wrists and feet and beat her bloody with a stick.

Locals in the area said that after Zakia screamed in agony, the pir released her in her parent’s custody. “He told her parents that the djinn had been exorcised and that the only way to get rid of the demon was to burn her and beat it out of her,” said a nurse Rehana, who told reporters that the doctors at the hospital had refused to release a report on the case. “The doctors won’t file against Safdar. They often send epilepsy or asthma cases to him to lighten their own load” she said.

Police officials also refused to file the case, after Zakia’s brother tried to file a report. “I didn’t know my parents were taking her to a pir. My sister can no longer walk and she will be bedridden for the rest of her life because of this,” Zain Hadi said. “I tried to tell my parents that this exorcism is fake and that my sister actually suffers from asthma but they didn’t listen. They took her to the pir when I was away from home,” he added.Safdar Pir’s attendant Shani told reporters that the pir had cured the woman. “They knew the risks when they brought her here and she is cured now. She was writhing in pain when they brought her and she could barely breathe. Now she is calm. Her wounds will heal in time and she is no longer possessed,” he said.  Shani said that Safdar has asked Zakia’s parents to sacrifice a goat in her name and distribute the meat among the pir and his patrons to garner favour of the spirits.

“One needs to appease the djinns on our side before they can move against the evil djinn possessing the girl.

The police know there was no other way which is why they haven’t said anything and the doctors come to us regularly for such things,” he said. Shani said that Safdar often ‘treated’ patients who had been referred to him by hospital officials.

“They always send us the cases that they know are for us. The possessed people are treated here. That is why the doctors will never go against us. Safdar is one of the most famous healers in this city,” he said.

Published in The Express Tribune, July 2nd, 2011.

Correction: An earlier headline led with the prefix “Botched exorcism” which suggested that the performance of such an act could actually cure people. This has been changed.

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Reader Comments (19)

  • aasim
    Jul 2, 2011 - 9:37AM

    Such fake pirs should be arrested and put behind bars for life.Recommend

  • e-samosa
    Jul 2, 2011 - 9:49AM

    This angers and saddens me. Recommend

  • shah sufi
    Jul 2, 2011 - 9:51AM

    Charges should be laid against this man under Criminal Code of Pakistan – Section 508.
    As well as the Doctors in this case.Recommend

  • Jul 2, 2011 - 10:10AM

    Hang the pir! Hang the doctors! Without trial, yes, without trial. This commenter has seen what the episodes of asthama and epilepsy do and the sight is a very painful experience. The memory remains a poignant reminder.
    But our LEAs and the impotent political shams for leaders will observe and use discriminatory language against the poor victim. Hang all of them publicly. Salams and prayers for the victim and may her family see the light of the day and darkness of night.Recommend

  • maria
    Jul 2, 2011 - 10:54AM

    this country is seriously screwed in the head. it’s beyond the repair of aid, funding, capacity building and all the fancy words used in the development conferences. the world has conquered milestones beyond imagination…and we are still beating up women for so-called jinns, refusing to take steps to curb it even if we have the responsibility…brava Pakistan!Recommend

  • Asghar Khan
    Jul 2, 2011 - 11:16AM

    This is pathetic!
    our country is still living in the stone age,

    The servitude mentality of our people is holding our country back, not to mention our courrupt and useless leaders – wait let me correct myself, WE DO NOT AND NEVER HAD ANY LEADERS.
    Our so called leaders are illiterate money making schemes.
    All they do is cry out wolf when they are not in power.

    Shame on the parents and everyone else involved.

    Why didnt they take her toa parrot card reader instead? or a palm reader!
    or a ANDAY WALA BABA, or some other DONGEE BABA,

    We are – Islamic Rebublic of Pakistan – i think now is the time to remove the word – ISLAMIC. because we do not follow this religion any more.

    Feel Sorry for my country – which was curved out with so much blood and sacrificies. – IN VAIN.Recommend

  • Javeria Mahmood
    Jul 2, 2011 - 11:20AM

    OMG! are these doctors insane? Recommend

  • Ahmad Qamar
    Jul 2, 2011 - 12:31PM

    @shah sufi:
    @Nazir Habib:
    @Asghar Khan:
    @Javeria Mahmood:

    Pakistan is a country ripe for all sorts of jinnies to take over.

    And, yes. The pir and his cohorts and also the doctors responsible should all be sent behind bars. It would be advisable to burn them in the same manner, so that they realise the pain they have inflicted upon innocent lady.

    I am amazed how the Chief Justice of Pakistan, who is ever ready to take suo motos on most petty issues like the repair of latrines in government offices, can ignore matters of such great import?!Recommend

  • Ahmad Qamar
    Jul 2, 2011 - 12:37PM

    The term ‘Botched Exorcism’ used here by the author implies as if there is a form of exorcism which is right and thus practiceable. I think to believe this would be the height of misfortune and ignorance. God! This country is too full of ignoramouses…!!!Recommend

  • sane
    Jul 2, 2011 - 12:52PM

    @maria: Asghar Khan:

    People do not loose a chance to condemn Pakistan. I do not want to use ignorant word for these people but I have no alternate word for it.
    It happens in every culture and every country. Even in first world countries (like USA) people believe in it and practice it to an evil level.
    Devil and evil worshiper are here (USA and Europe) and even have their own churches. You like to watch Hollywood movies about it but if it happens in your neighborhood you start condemning Pakistan like it is only happening in Pakistan.Recommend

  • Ishrat Salim
    Jul 2, 2011 - 2:30PM

    Such fake Pirs & doctors & other influencial people too who patronises the Pirs…?? be put behind bars….but this is not the duty & responsibility of the govt….but us…we….the civil society…the local NGOs….shud educate the poor people against such practices garner support from the society to launch basic education in villages to open the eyes against such non-religious & un-ethical practices. Recommend

  • Jul 2, 2011 - 2:48PM

    still we r willing to heel our self frm old practitioners but in the same case dr also neglected the patient esp who r living in rural or remote area Recommend

  • Jul 2, 2011 - 3:10PM

    Now this is one pir that needs to be locked in a closet for 30 years for a smooth decomposition to take place (referring to your previous post) Wondering how did an asthma patient survive it without her inhaler though as asthma aggravates in stress. Did a post on these pirs and their diabolic tactics in a bid to caution people.Recommend

  • Jose Sanchez
    Jul 2, 2011 - 7:37PM

    Your country needs to free itself from the destructive influences of religion.Recommend

  • Jul 2, 2011 - 10:55PM


  • Azka
    Jul 3, 2011 - 1:23AM

    @Jose –

    This isn’t religion related. it’s called being a wrong person. Simple.

    This pir is only doing what he is because he knows he won’t be caught, and he gains pleasure from inflicting pain.
    let me also remind you that there are many other countries- Congo, Rwanda, where similar crimes happen. Would you tell them to ‘free themselves from the destructive influences of religion.’ ?

    Didn’t think so.Recommend

  • Ahmad Akram
    Jul 3, 2011 - 1:15PM

    Islam say Jinns are real. So they are real. Even though I havenn’t seen them I believe they are real because 1400 years Mohammed Saw them. Mayy Allah bless the Jinns and make them Muslim.Recommend

  • Malay
    Jul 3, 2011 - 1:45PM

    @Ahmad Akram

    Very well said. Recommend

  • Chacha
    Jul 3, 2011 - 2:01PM

    So Mr. Qadri – would you kill all the people who have commented on this column. Are not they being blasphemous too – djins are real according to Islam and it is therefore possible that she was possessed by one. But the immediate reaction of all the people positing here suggests that thier opposition to this arises from thier lack of faith – there are millions or more of djinns then there are asthama patients – yet they this this was athma related. So much blasphemy ?

    I think modern medicine is essentially a blasphemous profession, and so is modern physics and chemistry. They should not be taught in Pakistan.

    However nuclear physics is very islamic. Recommend

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