GUJRAT: The two Spanish national sisters of Pakistani origin who were killed by their close kin had been emotionally blackmailed as they were called to Pakistan on the pretext that their mother was on the deathbed and she wanted to see them. On being misinformed about the condition of their mother, both the sisters arrived in Pakistan a day before their murder on May 20.

A close kin to victims Arooj Abbas and Aneesa Abbas told Dawn, on condition of anonymity, on Monday that Azra Bibi, the mother of deceased women, had also been evacuated from village Nothia of Gulliana police precincts in Kharian tehsil following the burial of her daughters last Saturday since she also faced a threat to her life. He said one of suspects, Hassan Aurangzaib, whose nikah was done to Arooj Abbas, had also hurled threats to kill the victims’ mother. However, Hassan is in custody now. A relative of the mother immediately took her out of the village after the burial and now she had been shifted to a safer place in another city. The woman is in contact with police and might record her statement before the police within a few days after coming out of the trauma.

The mother was one of the eyewitnesses of the brutal killings as her statement could prove vital in the case, an official of the Gujrat police said. The area people and family sources said Azra Bibi had been confined by her in-laws in a room after she came to Pakistan a couple of months ago and they did not let her talk to her daughters in Spain. However, Muhammad Abbas, the father of deceased remained in Spain and did not accompany his daughters to village Nothia where the plot of their killing had already been prepared.

Another family source said the deceased sisters were dragged by the suspects who put their headscarves around their necks to suffocate them before shooting. All this happened in front of the children at home as 12-year-old Fakhar Abbas, the youngest brother of the slain sisters, had also been missing since then.

It is said the mother was worried about the whereabouts of her youngest son as two of her sons, Shehryar, the main suspect and Asfandyar had already been arrested along with four other suspects, the uncles and two cousins of the deceased who were also their fiancé.

Moreover, Azra Bibi had already been passing through the agony of a tragic death of her elder son, Haroon Abbas, who was 18 years old when he drowned in a Jhelum canal around seven years ago when he went there along with his cousins. Now his both daughters are killed and two sons have been booked for killing their sisters, leaving her whole family in disarray, the source said and added that the suspects also had an objection to the both sisters for wearing western dresses.

Similarly, the sisters were against their forced marriages to the cousins and had been demanding divorce whereas the relatives in Pakistan and parents would ask them to expedite the process of documentation for visas for their husbands to move to Spain.

Police had booked at least nine people, including seven nominated and two unidentified suspects in the case of sisters’ killing. An ASI of Gulliana police became the complainant in the case after which six suspects were arrested whereas a woman, Farzana Haneef, wife of Haneef, and two unidentified suspects were yet to be arrested.

Meanwhile, all the arrested suspects were produced in the court of area magistrate Kharian on Monday who granted five days physical remand of the suspects to police until May 28.

Published in Dawn,May 24th, 2022

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