Monday, April 6, 2009

Swat Flogging, The News International & Ansar Abbasi - 8

On Mon, 4/6/09, Mubashir Inayet wrote:

Whether it was Chand Bibi or someone else who was flogged is not the issue. The issue is a girl did get flogged and was not a TV drama, it was captured by cell phone video recorder.. So let us stick to the issue and deal with it.

Dear Mubashir Sahab,

Ansar Abbasi filed a news quoting Hoti the CM of NWFP he belongs to ANP

Zardari to sign deal despite flogging: Hoti By Ansar Abbasi Monday, April 06, 2009

and Ansar Abbasi's wish is to somehow deny the flogging but the same Mullah type Journalist particularly the Rascal Jamat-e-Islami had in the past had raised hell against the same ANP which is being praised by Jamat-e-Islami nowadays in Jasarat. The case was a killing of one Saima Sarwar and ANP Senator , Ilyas Bilour was involved in that Honour Killing, now read the details:

Mr Ansar Abbasi - Correspondent/Editor Investigations - The News International/Jang Group of Newspapers/GEO TV

Where has gone now the so-called Shariah which Ansar Abbasi was trying to defend while defending Sufi Muhammad, Flogging and Taliban while reciting Quranic Verses of Surah-e-Nur[AL-NOOR (THE LIGHT) Chapter 24 from Quran] and what a fun he was reciting Surah Nur Verses to an Unveiled [BAYPARDAH] GEOTV News READER [I wonder where have gone all the verses of Quran regarding Veil]..

Reaction of Ansar Abbasi about Swat girl flogging

Honour Killings of Women Seeking Divorce

Several women who have sought divorce through the courts have been injured, killed or never been heard of again. Seeking divorce gives a strong signal of public defiance which calls for punitive action against such women to restore male honour within the traditional honour scheme.

One of the most recent honour killings of a woman seeking divorce occurred in the afternoon of 6 April 1999, when 29-year-old Samia Sarwar, a mother of two young sons, was shot dead in her lawyer's office in Lahore. Her lawyer Hina Jilani was also threatened but not injured. A para-legal trainer, Shahtaj Qisalbash was abducted by the killers but eventually released.

The apparent reason for the killing, threats and abduction was that Samia Sarwar's family felt their honour defiled by her disobedience to their wishes and her persisting in seeking a divorce from her abusive husband. They had allowed Samia to return home and had accepted the incompatibility of the spouses, but would not allow her to divorce. The case shows that some prosperous city dwellers -- Samia's father is a prominent business man, her mother a doctor while Samia studied law, her sister medicine -- follow the same traditional norms of what constitutes shameful behaviour in a woman and advocate the same punishments as rural populations.

Samia Sarwar was married to her cousin in 1989 in Peshawar, North West Frontier Province (NWFP). In the 10 years of her marriage, Samia was subjected to high levels of domestic violence, beating, kicking and other physical abuse which she was not willing to bear. In April 1995, she returned to her family home after her husband had thrown her down the stairs of their home when she was pregnant with their second child. When she expressed her intention of seeking a divorce, both her parents refused to help and instead allegedly threatened to kill her. Her mother and her husband's mother are sisters and it was considered shameful for the family that the marriage had broken down. Hina Jilani, Samia's lawyer said after her death: "On the two or three occasions that I met her personally to discuss her case, she repeatedly expressed the fear of death at the hands of her family. ... She seemed well-educated. However, I had the impression that she lacked confidence. I was surprised that a timid woman like her had resolved to take on the enmity of her family by resorting to legal action for divorce which, according to her, the family was opposed to even after five years of separation from her husband. ... Samia was a frightened, unhappy woman who felt very alone in a predicament that she couldn't deal with confidently."

Grasping the opportunity of her parents' absence from Peshawar during their pilgrimage to Mecca, Samia fled to Lahore on 26 March 1999 and sought help in the law firm AGHS33 and refuge in the AGHS-run shelter Dastak. Acutely aware of her family's threats to her life, Samia refused to see male relatives but agreed to meet her mother who was to hand over papers needed for the divorce settlement.

On 6 April, Samia Sarwar consulted lawyer Hina Jilani in her office when her mother arrived, accompanied by Samia's uncle, Yunus Sarwar and Habibur Rehman, a driver employed in the NWFP Directorate of Education in Peshawar. When Hina Jilani told the men to leave the room, Samia's mother declared that she could not walk and needed her driver's assistance. Habibur Rehman then pulled out a gun and shot at Samia's head; she died instantly. He also fired at Hina Jilani who narrowly escaped injury. In the ensuing confusion, the driver threatened a security guard and was shot dead. Meanwhile Yunus Sarwar who had waited in the antechamber, took hold of AGHS paralegal coordinator Shahtaj Qisalbash and, using her as a shield, escaped with Samia's mother. According to Shahtaj Qisalbash's account, they drove to a local hotel where Samia's father awaited them, asking if "the job was done". They released her soon afterwards.

The fact that the killing was carried out in the lawyer's office during a busy afternoon, in the presence of well-known Supreme Court lawyer Hina Jilani suggests that the perpetrators were convinced they were doing the right thing, were not afraid of publicity as they could count on widespread support and not inclined to hide their identity. They were possibly convinced that the state would not take measures to hold them to account. They were right. Despite a First Information Report (FIR, the complaint registered with police obliging them to investigate the alleged offence) filed on the same day, nominating Samia's father, mother and uncle for murder, to date no one has been arrested. Low ranking police officers were on 20 April sent to Peshawar with arrest warrants, but were "shooed away"as a human rights activist put it. On 29 April, the accused obtained bail. In the first week of May, Hina Jilani petitioned the Lahore High Court against police failure to investigate and to submit their investigation report; an interim report was subsequently submitted. At a second hearing, on 15 June, a written note of the Crime Investigation Agency (CIA) explained the delay saying that the case was complicated and that a second FIR had been registered (see below).

Newspapers reported that the public response to the killing of Samia Sarwar in the North West Frontier Province (NWFP) overwhelmingly sided with the murderers. Many Pashtun commentators argued that since it was in accordance with tradition it could not be a crime. Some argued, however, that the parents should have obtained a jirga verdict before undertaking the honour killing to lend it legitimacy.34 A similar attitude was also manifest in the Senate of Pakistan. When opposition Pakistan People's Party Senator Iqbal Haider presented a resolution condemning the killing of Samia Sarwar, Senator Ilyas Bilour referring to Asma Jahangir and Hina Jilani said: "We have fought for human rights and civil liberties all our lives but wonder what sort of human rights are being claimed by these girls in jeans." Other senators shouted abuse and threats against the two women lawyers. An amended resolution was being debated in the Senate in July and rejected on 2 August.35

The Sarhad Chamber of Commerce of which Samia's father is president and several religious organizations on 8 and 9 April demanded that Hina Jilani and Asma Jahangir be dealt with in accordance with "tribal and Islamic law" and be arrested for "misleading women in Pakistan and contributing to the country's bad image abroad". Several people belonging to religious organizations issued fatwas [religious edicts] against both women and promised to pay rewards to anyone who would kill them. In late April 1999, Asma Jahangir lodged a First Information Report with police against 16 people, including prominent businessmen in Peshawar, for issuing death threats against her and her sister. She also called on the government to set up a judicial inquiry headed by a Supreme Court judge to investigate almost 300 cases of honour killings reported last year in Pakistan. No action is known to have been taken on either issue.

On 11 May, Ghulam Sarwar Mohmand filed a complaint with Peshawar police accusing Hina Jilani, Asma Jahangir and two others with abducting and murdering his daughter. The accused obtained bail before arrest and on 15 June the Peshawar High Court admitted their petition to quash the case and ordered police not to take any adverse action on the basis of the later complaint. The case is pending.


1 - An acronym composed of the first letters of the first names of the four women lawyers who founded it; they include Hina Jilani and her sister Asma Jahangir, the current UN Special Rapporteur on Extrajudicial, Arbitrary and Summary Executions and then chairperson of the non-governmental HRCP.

2 - M. Ziauddin, "The legitimacy of honour killings", in: Dawn, 8 May 1999.

3 - Farzana Bari, representing 15 human rights groups commented: "It is highly unfortunate that the so-called custodians of the constitutional rights of the citizens are violating the constitution by upholding and reinforcing archaic tribal value systems, chauvinism, fanaticism and political expediency." Financial Times, 5 August 1999.

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