May 26, 2022

By Muhammad Usman Siddique


Either due to a lack of eye witnesses or an apparent unwillingness among the residents of Nauthia, a rural village in Gujrat’s Kharian Tehsil, no one has yet to come forward as a complainant in the murder of Pakistani-Spanish sisters Aneesa and Arooj by their in-laws and close relatives.

As such, Galiana Police has decided to lodge a first information report (FIR) on behalf of the state.

In many heinous crimes in which the accused are relatives, complainants tend to opt for forgiveness. However, in this case, the possibility of a settlement or compromise is removed as the state is the complainant.

According to case details, Ghulam Abbas’ two daughters came to their ancestral village from Spain on May 19 – the FIR states that they had been lured to Nauthia under false pretenses.

A year prior to their murder, a nikah was solemnized between the girls and their cousins in Pakistan. They had been assured that they were free to change their minds if they met their husbands and felt they were not compatible. However, upon arriving and expressing their desire to call off the wedding, they were reportedly severely tortured.

Following an entire day of torture, on the evening of May 20, both women were strangulated and then shot dead. According to Station House Officer (SHO) of the Galiana police station, Shiraz Haider, the police launched an operation upon receiving information regarding the incident.

“We recovered the dead bodies from the house and shifted them to a morgue for postmortem. A team was constituted to nab six of the named accused,” he stated. “There is no doubt that it was a pre-meditated and brutal murder.”

Of the nine nominated accused, brothers Sheheryar and Asfand, husbands Hassan and Atiq, cousin Qasid and uncle Muhammad Hanif, who was also Aneesa’s father-in-law, have been detained. Meanwhile, the search for Hanif’s wife Farzana, cousin Aurangzeb, and an unknown facilitator, is currently ongoing.

However, the investigation is being severely hampered as the accused and their relatives are refusing to cooperate. According to residents, it is quite common to forcibly marry Pakistani-origin girls living abroad with local men in order to obtain visas. Moreover, as virtually the entire village is populated by members of a single clan, the chances of a resident approaching the police as a witness are slim.

According to locals, police response had been far different than what was reported. They told that in contrast to statements that there had been an exchange of fire, law enforcement personnel arrived an hour-and-a-half after the gunshots had been heard by the village.

While the shocking incident has not only sent Pakistanis reeling from the brutality meted out to Aneesa and Arooj, but the international community as well, in their ancestral village of Nauthia, there is silence and apathy.


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