The incharge of the Larkana Darul Aman, Mukhtiar Abbasi, has been arrested for her alleged involvement in the disappearance of three women from the shelter home on July 1.
According to the reports of the inquiry committee set up by the police to investigate into the disappearance, the women - Muskan Shaikh, Nooran Chandio and Nusrat Buledi - could not have fled from the Darul Aman without the help of insiders, since the heavily guarded shelter home has 12-foot-high walls and all windows are blocked by steel rods.
Two Darul Aman watchmen and four policemen were arrested earlier by the police and Abbasi was arrested on Friday based on the findings of the inquiry committee. After her arrest, the incharge was produced before a court on Saturday, from where she was sent on a police remand till July 23.
“Abbasi was found to be involved in allowing unauthorised and suspicious persons meet the inmates of the shelter home,” investigation officer Nazir Ahmed Mangi told The Express Tribune. “We have therefore arrested her. We believe that it was negligence on her part as the Darul Aman incharge that made it possible for the women to escape and she may even have deliberately allowed them to do so.”
Reluctant to take action
Abbasi, who is well connected with influential persons, boasted an air of infallibility and the police were reluctant to arrest her due to her connections. However, pressure from the media and the Madadgar National Helpline forced them into doing so.
Madadgar National Helpline field officer Bushra Syed wrote letters to the home secretary, asking for the rescue of the three women, especially Muskan Shaikh. Shaikh’s real name is Umeed Narejo and she is being hunted down by her husband, a criminal who wanted to kill her as revenge for the death of his two brothers and has already killed her mother and abducted her step-brother. Syed also tried to contact Shaikh while she was being kept at the Darul Aman but was prevented from doing so by Abbasi, who also did not allow Shaikh to see a lawyer.
A repeat offender?
This was not the first incident of women disappearing from the Larkana Darul Aman. A couple of years ago, a girl dubbed as kari somehow went missing from the Darul Aman and was later found to be in the hands of her in-laws, who killed her.
Abbasi was suspected to be involved in that case and was suspended for her alleged involvement. However, she was later reinstated after the intervention of some influential persons. A police officer, requesting anonymity, claimed that Abbasi is known to allow the girls to leave the Darul Aman for the night if they promise to return by the morning, and also allows certain individuals to visit the Darul Aman inmates after visiting hours.
Another police source claimed that the police knew of Abbasi’s involvement right from the start but were delaying her arrest due to her connections. They were therefore trying to somehow find a loophole through which they could sweep the whole case under the rug, despite being fully aware of Abbasi’s illegal activities.
Others are involved
Abbasi is, however, not the only one thought to be involved in the disappearances. A senior police officer is said to have accepted a bribe to allow the women to ‘escape’. The Larkana SSP Khalid Mustafa Korai is on leave and the incharge SP, Tauqeer Naeem, was unavailable for comments.
Published in The Express Tribune, July 20th, 2014.
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