Rights Watch | 2nd February 2021

PHC grants bail to man accused of killing newly-wed daughter-in-law for 'honour' after counsel successfully argues of lack of evidence and witnesses as to his involvement. Rawalpindi police arrest man for raping and blackmailing woman. Karachi police arrest two serial rapists for assaulting multiple women during robberies. Senate Standing Committee on Religious Affairs and Interfaith Harmony gives preposterous reasons for rejecting minority protection bill.

Rights Watch

‘Honour’ killing suspect granted bail

Justice Syed Arshad Ali of the Peshawar High Court granted bail to a man accused of murdering his newly-wed daughter-in-law for ‘honour’ in his home in Charsadda district. The accused, Ghafoor Khan, had submitted his bail application to the single-member bench of the high court through his counsel, advocate Shabbir Hussain Gigyani.

Ghafoor Khan and his son Zikriya were arrested by Khanmai police under sections 302 (punishment for intended murder) and 311 (punishment for honour killing even if compromise has been reached), on the complaint of the deceased’s brother. The complainant alleged that the girl was murdered by her father-in-law and husband inside their home as they had questioned the woman’s ‘character’.

The defence however argued that Ghafoor had been falsely accused of the murder, and that the complainant had named him as a suspect acting on hearsay. Furthermore, the petition contended, there were no witnesses nor evidence as to the accused’s involvement in the murder.

Co-accused Zikriya has yet to file for bail with the high court.

Rapists nabbed in separate incidents in Karachi, Rawalpindi

Waris Khan police in Rawalpindi arrested a man for allegedly raping a woman after luring her with the promise of marriage, and then blackmailing her with videos of the assault. The complainant had alleged that the accused were initially in a relationship and had promised to marry her. However, he went back on his word after sexually assaulting her, and began threatening her with footage of her rape. A case was registered after a medico-legal examination confirmed assault.

Meanwhile, Karachi police on Monday, February 1 arrested two suspects, Abdullah and Tariq, during a near the Lyari Expressway, and recovered weapons and stolen valuables from their possession. Both men are believed to have been involved in a spate of rapes during armed robberies in the city after a rape survivor submitted her case to the Surjani Town police station some days ago.

According to the complainant, the suspects, impersonating policemen, entered her home in Ali Muhammad Mengal Goth in Taiser Town on January 7, and raped her at gunpoint. Police were able to trace the culprits via a composite sketch of one of the suspects. Both suspects confessed to assaulting the mother of three, and were also identified by the rape survivor during a court hearing. A judicial magistrate remanded them in police custody for three days and directed the police to present results of their DNA test in the next hearing.

Senate committee rejects minority rights bill

The Senate Standing Committee on Religious Affairs and Interfaith Harmony on Monday ‘turned down’ the Protection of the Rights of Religious Minorities Bill presented by PML-N Senator Javed Abbasi, which addressed concerns regarding freedom of worship and incidents of forced conversions, especially of young minority girls.

The committee hearing, chaired by JUI-F Senator Maulana Abdul Ghafoor Haideri, however, rejected the bill, stating that the proposals in the bills were already covered by existing laws which ensured complete freedoms for religious minorities in Pakistan. Senator Haideri pointed out that the government was already constructing temples for the Hindu community, and denied any role of Muslim extremists in the Karak temple incident. JI Senator Sirajul Haq also called into question the role of Islamists in the slaughter of ten Hazara-Shia Muslim coalminers in Machh, to which Senator Haideri conveniently responded with “terrorism has no religion”.

Senator Haideri then stated that the committee had not rejected the bill, rather ‘turned it down’, to which PPP Senator Krishna Kumari Kolhi demanded that the committee own up to rejecting the bill and show everyone that they did not want to protect minorities before walking out of the hearing in protest.