ABBOTTABAD: Thirteen members of a jirga who strangled a 16-year-old girl and set her body on fire in Galyat’s Makol village last month were arrested and remanded in police custody for 14 days by an antiterrorism court on Thursday.

The mother of the dead girl was also arrested.

Police said the 15-member jirga had ruled on April 28 that Ambreen, daughter of Riasat, a labourer who works in Balochistan’s Gadani area, should be killed for helping her fri­end Saima elope with her boyfriend. It also ordered torching of the vehicle in which the two girls tried to escape. The elopement took place on April 23.

The Abbottabad District Police Officer, Khurram Rasheed, said at a press conference that two members of the jirga were still at large.

He said that with the help of police officials of other areas, “we managed to find a clue from a phone call made by Mohammad Naseer, driver and owner of the vehicle”.

Mohammad Naseer had lodged an FIR under Sections 302/436 and 427 with Donga Gali police station on April 29 against torching of his vehicle. After the jirga ended its six-hour meeting on April 28, the poor girl was taken from her home to an abandoned house where she was drugged, strangled to death and tied to the back seat of the vehicle. Then the van, parked at a bus stop in the village, was doused with petrol and set on fire. Another vehicle parked nearby was damaged in the fire.

The charred body of the girl was found in the van in Donga Gali on April 29. Police moved the body to Ayub Medical Complex for autopsy.

Police found drugs and a can of petrol from the abandoned house.

The arrested accused were identified as Siraj Ali, Shabbir Ahmed, Javed Akhter, Gul Zareen, Afzal Muneer, Mohammad Naseer (driver), Pervez (head of the jirga), Umer Zaib, Saeed, Gul Zaman, son of Abdul Sattar, Gul Zaman, son of Lal Akbar, Safdar, Pervez and Shamim, mother of Ambreen.

They were first produced before media and later before the ATC judge who remanded them in police custody for 14 days for interrogation.

The DPO said as the girl’s family was poor, her mother could not resist the jirga’s decision because most of its members were criminals, and not elders of the area.

The President of the High Court Bar Association, Abbottabad, Qazi Mohammad Arshad, Advocate, has offered free legal help to the victim family.

Published in Dawn, May 6th, 2016

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