PESHAWAR: The Peshawar High Court has directed the provincial government to provide security to a couple, which had married of their own free will, and take an undertaking from the family of the woman and local elders that the couple won’t be harmed.

A bench consisting of Justice Roohul Amin Khan and Justice Syed M Attique Shah fixed Jan 26 for the next hearing into the petition of a woman seeking her release from a local shelter home and provision of security to the couple to live a peaceful life.

It directed the home secretary to produce a report on the next hearing about steps taken by him for the couple’s safety.

The bench observed that the distant relatives of the petitioner, hailing from Kurram tribal district, and leaders of the area had earlier declined to take responsibility for the safety of the couple.

Peshawar High Court seeks report from home secretary about steps for the purpose

Justice Roohul Amin observed that the petition had been pending since March last year and some

senior police officers were summoned, who had said the full-time security couldn’t be provided to the couple.

The bench asked who was responsible for the security of the couple.

The woman had allegedly left her home of her own free will and was later sent to the shelter home on the orders of a local court.

The couple had entered into wedlock of their free will.

However, the woman continued to live in the shelter home due to security reasons.

Advocate Rahmanullah appeared for the petitioner, whereas an additional advocate general and provincial home secretary also turned up in the hearing.

Rahmanullah contended that his client wanted to leave the shelter home for which permission of the court was required.

He, however, said that unless the couple was provided proper security, it would be impossible for them to live peacefully.

The home secretary said that it was the responsibility of the state to provide security to the couple and in that regard they had also held a meeting.

He said that wherever the couple wanted to go the government would provide them security.

The bench observed that they had reports that family members of the petitioner had tasked certain persons to eliminate her the moment she left the shelter home.

It added that close family members had so far not been traced by the police.

The bench observed that if the immediate family members of the petitioner had given undertaking that she won’t be harmed then the bench would have considered to set her free.

The secretary said that they would contact the local jirga in Kurram district and would try that they should make any decision in that issue and also give surety bonds so that the couple should not be harmed.

Justice Roohul Amin observed that a woman was recently killed despite having the police’s protection.

The bench asked the secretary to strengthen the law-enforcement agencies and realise that tribal agencies had been merged with the province and the situation was not like the past when the people used to hide there after committing crimes.

Published in Dawn, January 22nd, 2022

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