Rights Watch | 17th July 2020

Rights Watch

Jirga demands government investment in women’s advancement

Jirga elders in the Torghar district accused the government of not acting to further women’s social advancement. A European Union (EU) programme for Community Driven Local Development had granted Rs. 120 million for the development of the Torghar District, of which Rs. 24 million was intended for women’s advancement in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa, however money has yet to be used.

Although the funds for women were intended to be deployed through dedicated committees, the jirga elders accused the district government of failing to even set up such committees. One elder stated that the community wanted to further women’s empowerment through social development projects such as the establishment of a local middle school for girls in the Judbah tehsil, but that the local administration was failing in this regard. Currently, there are no girls’ middle schools in the tehsil. Jirga elders warn that the local community will protest should their demands not be addressed.

Minor rescued from forced marriage attempt

Isra Khan, an Italian teenager of Pakistani origin, was rescued by police after her father tried to force her into marriage. The 16-year-old girl was brought to Pakistan, where her father took her to Nagrianwala village and tried to marry her to her 10-year-old cousin, threatening to kill her should she refuse.

Khan was able to contact the Italian embassy in Islamabad, who alerted the relevant authorities including the Gujrat Police, who rescued her. In her statement, Khan stated her desire to not get married and to return to Italy. Her case has been discussed in the Italian parliament, which was also informed by Gujrat Police that Khan’s family have destroyed her travel documents so as to prevent her from travelling abroad. She is currently being housed at a government shelter.

Missing person case sees interior secretary fined

On Thursday, July 16, the Islamabad High Court (IHC) fined the interior secretary, superintendent of police and the inspector general of Islamabad police Rs. 2 million each, pertaining to the missing person’s case of one Suleman Farooq.

According to Professor Mohammad Sharif, Suleman Farooq’s father, the 27-year-old was last seen in Phase III of Bahria Town in Islamabad when he went missing. His father believes that this was an enforced disappearance, orchestrated by an influential organization.

A senior officer at the Islamabad police department told the court that a joint investigation team (JIT) had been formulated to investigate Farooq’s disappearance. These efforts appear to have failed, as Justice Mohsin Akhtar Kayani not only fined the three previously mentioned offiials but also ordered disciplinary action.