SAHIWAL, July 13: A 12-year-old girl was allegedly tortured to death by a self-acclaimed spiritual healer at Chichawatni’s 114/12-L village early on Friday.

Worse still, the girl’s parents insisted that she had fallen a victim to evil spirits and their ‘pir’ had nothing to do with it.

Sources at a Chichawatni hospital confirmed severe marks of torture and hot iron rod burns at face, arms and feet. Also, the girl was treated with red chilies smoke.

Salma Bibi, daughter of labourer Manzoor Ahmed, was mentally challenged and her parents believed she was under the influence of evil spirits. Manzoor’s brother-in-law advised him to call a spiritual healer, Pir Shabbir, a resident of 21/14-L.

Shabbir came to their house on Thursday night and locked the girl in a room, where he started his ‘amal’. He kept beating the girl with an iron rod the whole night and also burnt her limbs, telling her parents all along to stay calm because the “evil spirits were too powerful to be ward off quickly.” He even claimed that these were the cries of evil spirits and not the girl.

The girl died by the morning and Shabbir asked her parents to bury her in a graveyard without ado. On a tip-off, the Kassowal police led by SI Muhammad Jawad reached the graveyard around 8am on Friday and sent the body to Tehsil Headquarters Hospital for autopsy.

The postmortem report stated “broken neck” led to the girl’s death. The police claimed the thug was immediately absolved of the crime as the girl’s father said “it is a sin to blame the pir”.

The Kassowal police registered a case (114/12) against Shabbir and a team set about tracking him down. —  Shafiq Butt

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