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PAKISTAN: A girl was raped and kidnapped by the relatives of a minister and her whereabouts are unknown -ASIAN HUMAN RIGHTS COMMISSION – URGENT APPEALS PROGRAMME

[NOTICE: The AHRC has developed this automatic letter-sending system
using the “button” below. We encourage you to send your appeal
letters via fax or post to them. Fax numbers and postal addresses of
the Pakistan authorities are attached below with this appeal. Thank
you.]

ASIAN HUMAN RIGHTS COMMISSION – URGENT APPEALS PROGRAMME

Urgent Appeal Case: AHRC-UAC-008-2009

 <http://www.ahrchk.net/ua/support.php?ua=UAC-008-2009 >

30 January 2009

PAKISTAN: A girl was raped and kidnapped by the relatives of a

minister and her whereabouts are unknown

ISSUES: Rape; abduction; violence against women; impunity; no rule of
law

———————————————————————

Dear friends,

The Asian Human Rights Commission (AHRC) has received information
that an 18-year-old girl, trafficked to a family through marriage,
has been raped by her father-in-law and other male members of his
family for almost one month. After she managed to escape, a Jirga
(illegal court) was held and they ordered that the girl be returned
to her parents. However, a second Jirga ordered that she be returned
to her husband and his family on the basis that the girl’s parents
had taken money for the marriage of the girl. With the order of the
Jirga, the girl was kidnapped on October 21, 2008 and her whereabouts
remain unknown. The nephew of a provincial minister was reportedly
involved in conducting the Jirga and because of involvement of this
minister the police are not taking action against the abduction and
rape.

CASE DETAILS:

Ms. R (name withheld for security reason), 18, resident of street no
7, Pathan Mohalla, Mithiani, Tehsil and district Naushahro Feroz,
Sindh province, was married to Mr. Zamir Bhurt, son of Mr. Luqman
Bhurt after payment of Rs. 100,000 (USD 1,430) was made to her
parents. The father of bridegroom agreed that he would pay 40,000
Rupees (USD 570) before the marriage and the remaining amount at the
time of her handover husband at the marriage ceremony. According to
the information received, the Bhurt family did not pay the entire
amount as they were relatives of the Provincial Minister of
Livestock. However, the girl’s family, due to their poverty, decided
to hand the girl over to the bridegroom.

According to the girl’s parents, when the girl reached her in-laws,
she was told that she was not to be married but had been sold to the
Bhurt family. She then found out that she was to be sexually
available for all the males of the family including the
father-in-law. Making some excuses on medical grounds, she managed to
escape from the family.

As she did not return, the in-laws contacted Mr. Nooral Khan Bhurt to
conduct a Jirga. He is the land lord and tribal chief of the Bhurt
tribe and nephew of Mr. Abdul Haque Bhurt, Provincial Minister of
Livestock. Whereas the girl’s father-in-law and three other male
persons of the same family claimed that all of them contributed some
money for her purchase, the Jirga, conducted by Mr. Nooral Bhurt,
found they were guilty of raping her. It ordered that Ms. R should
reside at her parents’ house and that only Mr. Zamir Bhurt may visit
her house as husband.

After some days, the father-in-law sent an appeal to the Jirga leader
asking for a revision of his decision. The Jirga was called again in
the first week of October 2008. He pleaded that since they have now
paid full amount of Rs. 100,000, the girl should go back to her
in-laws. Mr. Nooral Bhurt decided that she should be returned to the
Bhurt family. The order was delivered to Ms. R who refused to go back
as she was afraid that she would be raped by the male members of the
family, including the father-in-law. Her refusal was conveyed to the
Jirga. It then ordered that she be taken by force from her parents.

On the night of October 11, 2008, Mr. Zamir and his father, along
with 20 armed men attacked her house in an attempt to kidnap her. As
there was resistance from the family, the assailants using guns fired
indiscriminately. Ms. R, her mother and her grandmother were severely
injured while one attacker from the raiding party was shot dead. The
neighbours phoned the police but they refused to come as the case
involved a Jirga. The attackers then took the injured Ms. R away with
them announcing that no one can remove her from their custody. Since
then her whereabouts remain unknown.

After the situation was over, the police came to investigate. While
they were there, the cell phone of the dead assailant started
ringing. However, the police did not know that he was killed in the
firing. The Station Head Officer (SHO) of the Mithiani Police
Station, Naushahro Feroz district, Mr. Waris Siyal, picked up the
ringing cell phone. He heard the attackers asking the dead man to
come to a hidden location where they were holding Ms. R. However, the
SHO did not take any action.

On following day, the police arrested the father of Ms. R for the
murder of one attacker and refused to file cases on the kidnapping of
Ms. R and the attack on her house. Mr. Waris Siyal, the SHO,
reportedly has good connections in the new provincial government.
Previously he was suspended from his job on three occasions and
arrested once. It is believed that he is enjoying his position
because of being a good friend of the Provincial Minister of
Livestock.

Due to the police bias, people from different villages and small
cities held protests, wheel jammed strikes and shutter-downed shops.
They strongly requested the police to file cases against the seven
perpetrators but not the relatives of the provincial minister. No one
has yet been arrested.

The provincial government of the Pakistan Peoples Party (PPP) has
refused to help the victims. However, local leaders and activists of
PPP are agitating against their leadership for taking the side of
powerful people. The women leadership of the party and women
ministers have not intervened in this case as the provincial minister
is close friend of Mr. Asif Zardari, the President of Pakistan.

SUGGESTED ACTION:

Please write a letter to the government authorities, urging them to
thoroughly investigate this case so that those perpetrators are
prosecuted and punished according to law.

Please be informed that the AHRC has also written letter to the UN
Special Rapporteur on violence against women calling for intervention
in this case.

To support this appeal, please click here:
<http://www.ahrchk.net/ua/support.php?ua=UAC-008-2009 >

SAMPLE LETTER:

Dear _______,

PAKISTAN: A girl was raped and kidnapped by the relatives of a
minister and her whereabouts are unknown

Name of victims: Ms. R; 18 year old (detailed information withheld
for her security)

Name of alleged perpetrators:

1. Mr. Zamir Bhurt son of Luqman Bhurt

2. Mr. Luqman Bhurt father of Zamir and a landlord of the area,
Resident of Kacha area, Mithiani, Naushahro Feroz, Sindh Province,
PAKISTAN

3. Mr. Nooral Bhurt, land lord and tribal chief of the Bhurt tribe
and also nephew of a provincial minister, resident of Kacha ka
illaqa, Mithiani, Naushahro Feroz, Sindh province, PAKISTAN

4. Mr. Waris Siyal, Station House Officer (SHO) of Mithiani Police
station, Naushahro Feroz, Sindh province, PAKISTAN

I am writing to express my deep concerns regarding the incapability
of the police in the case where a girl was trafficked under the name
of marriage and raped by several male persons from the husband’
family.

According to the information that I have received, Ms. R who was to
be married to Mr. Zamir Bhurt was told on the day of marriage
ceremony that she was sent to his family not for her marriage but for
sexual abuse. She was then repeatedly raped for about a month by at
least four males from her husband’s family including her
father-in-law.

I am informed that when she managed to escape from this marriage and
did not return, a Jirga conducted by Mr. Nooral Khan Bhurt, a nephew
of Mr. Abdul Haque Bhurt, provincial minister of Livestock, was held
and found that they were guilty of rape against her even though they
claimed that the girl’s father-in-law and four other male persons
contributed some money for her purchase. Some days later, another
Jirga was held by the request of the father-in-law and ordered the
victim to come back to husband’s family. As she refused to follow
this order, the Jirga ordered that she be taken by fore from her
parents.

From the information that I have learned, with the order of the
Jirga, about 20 armed men along with her husband and father-in-law
attacked the house of Ms. R on the night of October 11, 2008. As the
result of this attack, one person from the group was killed in this
process and Ms. R was kidnapped. Since this incident, her whereabouts
has been unknown.

After all the situation was finished, a police led by Mr. Waris
Siyal, the Station Head Officer (SHO) of the Mithiani Police Station,
Naushahro Feroz district came for investigation. Even though the SHO
came to know where the girl was kidnapped after taking the phone that
left behind the dead attack, he did not take any action and arrested
the girl’s father on murder of one attacker instead on following day.
In addition, police have refused to file this matter for
investigation.

The police neither investigate this case nor arrest those
responsible. I am also informed that the reason behind the police
inaction is that the SHO has good connections in the new provincial
government and since this case was involved in his relatives, he has
failed to take further action on this case. Politicians who used to
help victims of human rights violation have also kept in silence.

I therefore urge you to immediately locate the victim and provide her
for security so that she can no longer live in fear of rape and sexual
abuse. Those responsible for the trafficking of the victim are
thoroughly investigated, prosecuted and punished in accordance with
law. The failure of proper investigation and negligence of filing
case by police need to address as early as possible. Since it appears
to the public that the police lost independence of investigation, I
also urge you to establish independent body to investigate this case
in order to prevent any political influence or hindrance.

I take this opportunity to draw your attention to the fact that the
system called ‘Jirga’ has been still used even though it was declared
illegal by the Supreme Court. If the government has not taken any
action to eradicate it, it will be remain at risk of the rule of law
in the country and take much longer time to recover the system of
rule of law.

Yours sincerely,

————-

PLEASE SEND YOUR LETTERS TO:

1. Mr. Asif Ali Zardari

President

President’s Secretariat

Islamabad

PAKISTAN

Fax: +92 51 922 1422, 4768 / 920 1893 or 1835

2. Mr. Syed Yousaf Raza Gillani

Prime minister of Pakistan

Prime Minister House

Islamabad

PAKISTAN

Fax: +92 51 9221596

Tel: +92 51 9206111

3. Mr. Rehman Malik

Advisor for Ministry of Interior

Room No. 404, 4th Floor, R Block,

Pak Secretariat

Islamabad

PAKISTAN

Fax: +92 51 920 2624

Tel: +92 51 921 2026

4. Dr. Ishrat-ul-Ebad Khan

Governor of Sindh province

Karachi, Sindh Province

PAKISTAN

Fax: +92 21 920 5043

Tel: +92 21 920 1201

E-mail: governor@governorsindh.gov.pk
<mailto:governor@governorsindh.gov.pk>

5. Syed Qaim Ali Shah

Chief Minister House

Karachi, Sindh Province

PAKISTAN

Fax: +92 21 920 2000

E-mail: pppsindh@yahoo.com <mailto:pppsindh@yahoo.com>

6. Chief Justice of Sindh High Court

High Court Building

Saddar, Karachi

Sindh Province

PAKISTAN

Fax: +92 21 9213220

E-mail: info@sindhhighcourt.gov.pk
<mailto:info@sindhhighcourt.gov.pk>

7. Ms. Nadia Gabol

Minister for Human Rights

Government of Sindh,

Pakistan secretariat, Barrack 92,

Karachi, Sindh Province

PAKISTAN

Tel: +92 21 9207043

Fax: +92 21 9207044

E-mail: lukshmil@yahoo.com <mailto:lukshmil@yahoo.com>

8. Secretary

(Criminal Prosecution) SGA &CD Department

Government of Sindh

Sindh Secretariat,

Karachi, Sindh Province

PAKISTAN

Tel: +92 21 9213327-6

Fax: +92 21 9213873

E-mail: secy.cpsd@sindh.gov.pk <mailto:secy.cpsd@sindh.gov.pk>

9. Dr. Zulfiqar Ali Mirza

Minister for Home

Government of Sindh

Barrack 79, Pakistan Secretariate

Near MPA hostel

Karachi, Sindh Province

PAKISTAN

Fax: +92 21 9204456

Tel: +92 21 9201920-1

E-mail: secy.home@sindh.gov.pk <mailto:secy.home@sindh.gov.pk>

Thank you.

Urgent Appeals Programme

Asian Human Rights Commission (ua@ahrc.asia <mailto:ua@ahrc.asia>
)

 <http://www.ahrchk.net/ua/support.php?ua=UAC-008-2009 >

—————————–
Asian Human Rights Commission
19/F, Go-Up Commercial Building,
998 Canton Road, Kowloon, Hongkong S.A.R.
Tel: +(852) – 2698-6339 Fax: +(852) – 2698-6367

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