A couple who had eloped eight months ago and married each other in court have alleged that some influential sardars of Katcha Chohan area are planning to convene a jirga on Saturday (today) to punish them.
Speaking to the media on Friday, Riaz Chandiyo and his wife Shamshad Mai said that the latter’s uncle, Habib Chandiyo, and some other sardars of Chandiyo and Mazari tribes had allegedly decided to order the killing of the women and to declare two of the man’s sisters vani.
The Friday’s press conference was the first appearance of the couple after their marriage in a court ‘fearing opposition from the sardars’.
Riaz Chandiyo threatened with self immolation in front of the office of the district police officer if the jirga was not stopped from convening on Saturday and announcing verdicts against the couple.
He said Habib Chandiyo and his supporters, including a police officer Nawaz Chandiyo, had held a jirga after their marriage and ordered that the couple be produced in front of them. He referred to a buffalo and a power transformer theft FIRs against him in Bangla Ichha police station and alleged that these were registered to pressure him into surrendering to the jirga.
Shamshad Mai accused her uncle of opposing her marriage with Riaz Chandiyo because she had turned down a proposal to marry the former’s son. Habib Warraich rejected the charge as well as the impression that he or any of his supporters were planning to hold a jirga today. He also expressed ignorance about any previous jirga held in the matter. He, however, said that he had opposed his niece’ marriage with Riaz Chandiyo and considered their elopement an insult to the family’s name. He said Shamshad Mai’s parents had also supported him in opposing her marriage with Chandiyo. But, he said, they had now changed their mind and accepted the marriage. “They can forgo family’s honour but I cannot do so,” he said.
Abadpur police station house officer Muslim Zia expressed ignorance about any jirga in the area. He said he had been directed by the Rahim Yar Khan district police officer to investigate alleged threats to the lives of Chandiyo and his family. He said he had yet to arrest anyone of the 22 people identified in the FIR, including Habib Chandiyo, because he needed Chandiyo’s statement against them. “He and his wife had been in hiding since their marriage. I’ll resume proceedings now that they have resurfaced,” he said.
Nawaz Chandia, the police officer accused of participating in a jirga that allegedly ordered production of the couple, rejected that he had attended any such gathering.
Bangla Ichha SHO Amanullah Dasti confirmed registration of theft FIRs against Riaz Chandiyo on Habib Chandiyo’s complaints. He said he was investigating the matter.
Published in The Express Tribune, September 15th, 2012.