April 19th, 2021
By Rehan Piracha
Suspects in the high-profile case of Sharifan Bibi, a girl who was paraded naked in Dera Ismail Khan about four years ago, have now reached a settlement with her family in a pact brokered by a local jirga.
The case had garnered media attention when Sharifan Bibi had filed a petition in the Peshawar High Court in 2017, where she narrated her ordeal and accused the local police of collusion with the suspects.
The main suspect Sajawal, was arrested two years later on the orders of the high court.
A child protection court in DI Khan granted bail to nine other accused after the girl’s counsel told the judge the parties were in process of settlement in the case. The nine accused in the case were later released from prison.
On October 27, 2017, the suspects had paraded 16-year-old Sharifan Bibi naked all the while filming the incident. The act was apparently done in retort to the alleged gifting of a cell phone to a girl in their family by Sharifan’s brother.
Jirga elders comprising Sheikh Tauqeer Akram Habibani and Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz leader Dawar Khan Kundi convinced both families for reconciliation in a gathering on April 13.
Speaking to Voicepk.net, Sheikh Tauqeer Akram Habibani said the girl’s family was contemplating her marriage but could not do so as the case was pending before a child court for four years.
Similarly, six of the accused in the case were not directly involved in the harrowing incident but were imprisoned due to nomination in the first investigation report.
Therefore, the Jirga elders brought together the families for an amicable settlement, Habibani said. The agreement restricts movement of the accused around the neighbourhood of the girl’s family as well as payment of monetary compensation, he said.
However, Habibani clarified that the girl’s family had not demanded any financial compensation for the settlement with the family members of the accused. The family members of Sharifan Bibi announced during the jirga that they had pardoned the rivals for the sake of Allah, he added.
Habibani said the counsel for the accused will be moving an application under 265 CrPC for acquittal in the child court in the coming days as part of the settlement. He said the nine suspects in the case were released from jail on bail on April 12.
He said the settlement removed hurdles to the girl’s marriage, adding that Provincial Minister Ali Amin Gandapur had announced that whosoever marries the girl, would be given a government job.
Sister made to pay for brother’s alleged crime
In her petition, Sharifan Bibi explained the background of the family feud that led to her public humiliation at the hands of the suspects. She claimed that her brother Sajid was accused of gifting a cellphone to a female relative of Sajawal’s family.
Her brother denied the charges before a local Jirga. However, she stated that the Jirga imposed a fine of Rs 500,000 on her brother. The fine was reduced to Rs 30,000 when Sajawal kicked her mother before the jirga.
On the day of the incident, Sharifan Bibi said she along with other females of neighboring houses went to fetch water from a water pond. The accused Sajawal and his brother forcibly took Sharifan Bibi inside their house while she was returning home. She claimed that the accused tore her clothes and took her dupatta away, adding that she was paraded naked in the street, while another accused filmed the incident.
In 2017, Reham Khan, social activist and former wife of Prime Minister Imran Khan, visited the girl’s family in Dera Ismail Khan. Reham Khan said Sharifan Bibi’s mother told her that the police had misbehaved with her when she approached them in the case. Dawar Khan Kundi, who was MNA from PTI then, accused Provincial Minister Ali Amin Gandapur of supporting the accused in a letter to party chief Imran Khan. However, Gandapur denied the accusation while visiting the girl’s family in Dera Ismail Khan. He assured the family of all-out support when he visited the girl’s village.