A month on, Tahira Khoso’s murderers still at large

Residents claim the murderers are being protected by influential political leaders.

Sameer Mandhro April 19, 2015

KARACHI: Police have failed to trace the killers of 21-year-old Tahira Khoso, who was shot dead in front of her father, brother and uncle, on March 19 this year in Jacobabad.

Tahira was married to Waqar Umrani around 11 months earlier. She was a graduate and belonged to one of the most respectable families in the city. Her grandfather, Khan Muhammad Amin Khan Khoso, was one the leading members of the Tehreek-e-Pakistan from Sindh.

"It wasn't a love marriage," said Tahira's cousin, Amin Khoso. He added that the family wasn't aware of any dispute between the couple. "I used to talk to Waqar and he never complained about anything related to our Adi (sister)."

Tahira's father, Abdul Samee Khoso, her brother, Arshad Mehmood and uncle, Muhammad Iqbal, visited her house on the day she was murdered. They had been informed by someone that their daughter was being tortured.

"Unfortunately, Tahira was being beaten up by her husband and three other male members of his family," narrated Amin. "Arshad interfered but was also tortured. She was bleeding and crying with pain," he added. Waqar shot her once in the head in front of his father and brother. He managed to escape along with her accomplices easily, leaving his wife critically injured. Subsequently, Tahira was brought to Civil Hospital, Jacobabad, but succumbed to her injuries during treatment. There were torture marks on her body and arms.

Residents believe the culprits will not be arrested as they enjoy the support of influential political leaders. "The police are also being pressurised not to arrest the men involved in the killing," said a resident, who wished not be named. The brother of a sitting MNA is supporting the culprits, he claimed.

Support for justice

Over 30 civil society organisations, political and nationalist parties as well as members of the Khoso community have been staging protests since the killing. They have also contacted organisations outside Sindh and Pakistan to support the movement against the killers who are being protected allegedly by a political party.

Meanwhile, the police claim they are doing their best to arrest the suspects. "The case has been transferred to Shikarpur on the request of family," Jacobabad SSP Malik Zafar Awan told The Express Tribune.

"We are trying our best to arrest the suspects," said Shikarpur DSP Abdul Qadoos Kalwar. He believes that the suspects probably fled to Balochistan. "I can't say why she was murdered," he said, denying allegations that they were under any political pressure.

"The police have sealed properties of the Umrani family," said a source, adding that law enforcers have also been deployed outside Umrani's house.

Incidents of killings of female members in the name of honour are common in the upper parts of Sindh, especially in Jacobabad and Shikarpur. Influential persons, after the murder of girls and married women in such cases, mostly try to convene jirgas and pay or impose fines on certain families.

Published in The Express Tribune, April 20th, 2015.



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