By Haider Kaleem
In a tragic incident on April 18, a 28-year old woman, Maryam killed herself by hanging herself from the ceiling of her room. She was a resident of Francisabad, a Christian dominated area of Gujranwala, and was a mother of four children.
Sources say that the suicide may have taken place over domestic violence and abuse that Maryam had been facing during her last days.
Maryam’s husband Tariq Masih – a pickup driver – told the police that they had a quarrel on a personal matter, and when he went to work the next day, his sister called him on his phone to inform him that she had committed suicide.
The police said that Tariq had confessed to them that Maryam may have done so because of continuous disputes between them both.
According to what Tariq’s sister said Maryam tied together two sheets, and hanged herself.
Dr. Shahid Gill, a neighbor of Tariq, told Voicepk.net that the night before the incident, Tariq had beat up Maryam badly when she had objected to his wish for a second marriage.
“He abused her physically: it is still unclear whether Tariq wanted to get married the second time or not, but Maryam took it to heart and took her own life it seems,” he said. “It was a trivial issue, but she made a mountain out of a molehill,” he added.
Meanwhile narrating the scene of the incident, Dr. Gill said that they had all been sitting outside with the house locked from inside. Only the room where Maryam killed herself, remained unlocked, he said.
“As we entered the room, the women went in a shock, shouting and crying saying look what has happened!’ Yes, it was a police case but the family said that they didn’t want an investigation as this was God’s will. They said that Maryam was gone now, and there was no point in disrespecting her memory.”
Strangely enough, Maryam’s husband and her brothers both said that they had patched things up – raising the question of whether there had even been a tussle between them.
Amjad and Liaqat the brothers said that they had reconciled and so they did not want any media coverage of the incident regardless of whether there had been physical abuse in Maryam’s life.
Almost too quick to recover from her death, the neighbors reveal that now the family has decided to get Maryam’s elder sister married off to Tariq.
Meanwhile, the police say that it has gathered all the evidence from the crime scene, with the help of a forensic team. They have also recorded statements of the family members.
However afterward the police did not conduct any post mortem to find out more.
Usama Khawar, a human rights lawyer, told Voicepk.net that in such suspicious circumstances, the law binds law enforcement agencies to get the post mortem done and to investigate the matter further.
“According to the law that if someone dies in such suspicious circumstances then the police have complete authority to conduct a post mortem examination of the body,” said Khawar adding that “the family has no such right to stop the police from getting the post mortem done.”
The Pakistan Penal Code (PPC) says that if someone has urged or forced a person to commit suicide then the former may be sentenced for one year in jail or fined.
“It is a misconception in our society that a crime is a matter between an accused and the oppressed but it is a matter between the State and an accused. Police cannot get away by saying it is a family dispute. They have to completely investigate every suspicious crime,” said Khawar.
The concerned SDPO, Mian Muazzam revealed that Tariq had alleged Mariam of having extramarital affairs and that she killed herself because she could not deal with it when confronted.
Tariq had also accused Maryam’s sister who came back to Gujranwala after a divorce, is also involved with other men, he said.
“The SHO and area magistrate has the right to carry or waive the autopsy according to the situation and they can even carry it out without family’s consent but in this case, it was clear what happened, and we tried not to disrespect the corpse as per the family’s beliefs,” he said.
The matter became so huge on Twitter, having been labeled as suicide due to poverty, that Minister for Human Rights Shireen Mazari took to the social media platform and rejected what she said was fake news circulating the suicide.
She confirmed that Maryam took her own life due to domestic issues and police had been investigating the matter but now the case had been closed as there are conflicting statements around why Maryam had to kill herself.