Illustration by Khuda Bux Abro.
Last week, the capital police were informed that a 19-year-old woman had committed suicide in the Muslim Colony locality near Bari Imam Shrine.
The police arrived at the spot and found the circumstantial evidence suspicious.
So, they got an autopsy conducted on the body and also gathered information from the neighbours of the deceased. The autopsy report revealed that the death was a homicide.
Narrating the incident to Dawn, the investigators said on May 12 the victim’s paternal uncle informed the police that his niece had committed suicide.
Upon arrival at the house, the police found the body ready for burial. The family had already changed her clothes and given bath to the body.
On inquiry, the family members told the police that she had committed suicide by hanging and nothing was suspicious about the death. The police also found that the clothes, which she had put on at the time of ‘suicide’ and the scarf used in the hanging, had been washed.
It was also revealed that the victim had allegedly committed suicide in her maternal uncle’s house.
The victim’s family said as the girl had committed suicide they completed the rituals but later her uncle suggested that the police should be informed to avoid any complication. The police shifted the body to hospital for autopsy.
Later, the investigators approached the neighbours to gather information and came to know that the victim had run away from her parents’ house four days back - on May 8 - and returned to the house of her maternal uncle on May 11.
The autopsy on the body showed that she was four months pregnant. Besides, injuries were also found at nine spots on the body, including neck, cheeks, chin and hands.
The autopsy report said it was “homicidal strangulation.” In response, the police registered a murder case against unidentified killer(s) but believed that her family was behind the death in the name of honour.
According to the police investigation, the victim had fallen in love with a 16-year-old boy living in the same locality some two years ago and got pregnant a few months back.
When her family came to know about the pregnancy, she moved to the house of the boy and asked him to marry her.
In response, the boy’s father approached the girl’s family and asked them to bring her back from his house. He told the family that his son was too young to get married and shoulder the responsibility of taking care of the family.
When the parents of the girl tried to bring the girl back, she refused.
During the investigation, the victim’s aunt told the police that the girl was reluctant to go with her parents.
Later, she tried to persuade her to go home as it would bring a bad name to her family. She promised that her marriage would be held with the boy if she agreed to go home.
However, she refused and as a result her aunt took her to her own house where the incident took place the next day.
The aunt further told the police that on May 12, she was cooking meal in the kitchen while her husband was out of the house.
She said as she came out of the kitchen, she found the girl hanging with the ceiling of a room.
In the light of the autopsy report and circumstantial evidence, the police registered a murder case. The victim’s family hailed from Dir and her father sells edible items on a pushcart. The paternal uncle of the deceased is a driver by profession.
The police said the family did not want to register a case, so it was lodged on behalf of the state after making a policeman as a complainant.
The police said in such cases the families did not cooperate with them and protect the killers.
They also feared that if the killer(s) was a family member, he would be pardoned by the legal heirs.
The police said the samples collected from the body of the victim, including the foetus, were sent for DNA test to establish the parentage. After establishing the parentage, the man would be arrested on the charge of adultery.
Legal experts and senior police officers are of the opinion that honour killing should be considered as a crime against the state to curb the practice.
As the complainant in an honour killing case is the legal heir of the victim, who is also the relative of the killer(s), so the issue is settled out of court.
The killers always remain unpunished in honour killing cases, so the state should be the complainant instead of the legal heirs, they said.