The Supreme Court on Friday severely reprimanded the Punjab administration officials for not acting against the henchmen of a landlord who stoned a woman to death in Khanewal.
The court also issued strict orders to the Punjab police to arrest those responsible for the murder. It warned the Inspector General of Punjab Police that if court orders were not complied with, he would be suspended from service on July 23.
A three-member bench, headed by Chief Justice Iftikhar Muhammad Chaudhry, was hearing a suo motu case related to the murder of Maryam Bibi on Wednesday.
The ‘crime’ of the 25-year-old woman, a mother-of-five, was: cutting grass on land that belonged to a landlord in Khanewal.
According to reports, Maryam Bibi was cutting grass at the field of Raja Mehbub, who allegedly pressed her to have illicit relations with him.
Upon her refusal, Mehbub ordered his men to ‘teach her a lesson’. The men went to her house and stoned her to death. Mehbub also kidnapped Maryam’s husband.
The police registered a case against nine accused, while the chief justice took a suo motu notice of the incident.
During Friday’s hearing, the local police tracked down the victim’s husband.
Chief Justice Chaudhry remarked that human rights violations will not be tolerated and asked the Punjab advocate general to convey the message of the court to the Punjab chief minister. The deputy attorney general was asked to convey the court’s concern to the prime minister.
The chief justice also reprimanded the Punjab government as well as the police, saying they were aware of the incident but failed to take any action.
The court summoned IG Punjab Habibur Rehman on July 23, in this regard.
Punjab Advocate General Ashtar Ausaf, however, told the bench that three of the accused had been arrested.
The court also objected over a report submitted by the Punjab police over the incident.
The bench has sought a record from Inspector General (IG) and District Police Officer (DPO) before the next date of hearing.
Published in The Express Tribune, July 21st, 2012.