Cost of ignorance: Girl dies during ‘exorcism’

Published: July 14, 2012
" The pir poured
red chilli powder
on parts of her
body and burnt
them with an
iron rod," Girl’s father.

" The pir poured red chilli powder on parts of her body and burnt them with an iron rod," Girl’s father.


A teenager was tortured to death by a pir during ‘exorcism’ on Friday in a Cheecha Watni village.

The report of an autopsy performed on Salma, 13, stated that she had died from suffocation. It said the girl’s breathing was hampered by blocking her nostrils with cotton buds and holding her mouth shut.

The autopsy, carried out at Cheechwatni tehsil headquarters (THQ) hospital, confirmed that her skin was burnt with a hot iron rod. The report said there were bruises on the girl’s arms, face and chest.

Kassowal Station House Officer Rasheed Ahmed told The Express Tribune that body was sent for autopsy after a police team raided Chak 114/12-L and prevented the burial services for the girl. He said an annonymous caller had informed the police about the death.

The police later registered a murder case against the pir identified in a complaint signed by girl’s father Manzoor Hussain. The SHO said they had raided five places but could not arrest Shabbir, the suspect. He said it appeared he had left Cheecha Watni. He said Sahiwal district police officer had been informed about the incident so that the suspect could be tracked down.

Hussain said he had accepted the death as God’s will and not reported the matter to the police. He and his wife Khursheed Bibi had taken the girl to the pir ‘to evict djinns who had possessed her’.

He said a relative had referred her to the pir. “He told me that the pir was an expert in evicting djinns and did not charge anything for his services,” he said.

Hussain said he and Khursheed Bibi were called to the room, where exorcism was underway, at around 4am and told that the djinns had been evicted.

“The pir said we could take her away and warned us against uncovering her body, wrapped from head to toe in a piece of white cloth,” he added.
He said the pir immediately left the room afterwards. “He had fled by the time we found out that she was dead,” he said.

Hussain said the girl was tied to a charpoy and burned with a heated iron rod. He said the pir had poured red chilli powder on parts of the girl’s body before burning them with the rod. He said the parents were made to leave the room after midnight. “He told us to wait outside. He said it was not safe in the room,” he added.

Khursheed Bibi said the girl had frequently complained of body aches and at times could not speak properly. She said they were certain she had been possessed as several doctors had failed to cure her illness.

Correction: An earlier version of this story stated “to leave the leave” instead of “to leave”. A correction has been made.

Published in The Express Tribune, July 14th, 2012. 

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Reader Comments (11)

  • KM
    Jul 14, 2012 - 9:25AM

    Mistake in the sentence .. “He said the parents were made to leave the leave the room after midnight.”


  • busy bee
    Jul 14, 2012 - 9:36AM

    I’m speechless. Height of insanity and jihaalat.


  • busy bee
    Jul 14, 2012 - 9:41AM

    I’m speechless. Height of insanity n jihaalat. After this torturous death may Allah SWT rest her soul in eternal peace. Aameen.


  • Ayesha Pervez
    Jul 14, 2012 - 10:39AM

    My goodnesss!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! I dont believe such atrocity could exist!!! :(


  • romeo
    Jul 14, 2012 - 11:27AM

    People still believes in the so called “pirs” not in the villages but also in the big cities. It is very sad and I pray to Almighty to let her soul rest in peace in heaven. The so called “pir” should be arrested and hanged till death


  • Karachiite
    Jul 14, 2012 - 12:51PM

    This so called pir ought to be tried for murder and hanged. And the parents should be equally punished for taking part in the murder of the poor girl. Jaahil log!!!


  • Sumer
    Jul 14, 2012 - 6:24PM

    Honestly, at this modern day and age, people are still so illiterate, that they are willing to sacrifice their own loved ones, just because of superstition. How in the world, does burning the girls body with an iron rod, prove as a cure. The Holy Quran has mention Jinnaat” but it certainly doesn’t tell us to torture some one in such a way. This is inhuman behavior, let alone religious. This is just sad to know that people are not only doing immoral acts, they bring religion into it too. How does this not ruin the name of Pakistan itself. This is a shame.


  • Jibran
    Jul 15, 2012 - 12:06AM

    What the heck is djinn? created by ignorant people!! This madness has to stop.Recommend

  • Yusuf Al-Kafir
    Jul 15, 2012 - 1:41AM

    On a related note, I accidentally killed my tomato plants while safeguarding them against unicorn attacks.


  • Anonymous
    Jul 15, 2012 - 5:27PM

    That’s so hypocritical


  • JoelB
    Jul 16, 2012 - 11:12PM

    “Exorcism”??? This girl was tortured to death!!!

    I agree with Karachiite – the family should be tried for murder. ” Ignorance” is no excuse…..


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