PESHAWAR: The Peshawar High Court has set aside, on the basis of a compromise, the conviction and sentence of life awarded to three persons including a woman for killing their female relative on pretext of honour in Upper Chitral district.

A two-member bench consisting of Justice Mohammad Naeem Anwar and Justice Mohammad Ijaz Khan observed that according to the report of the trial court, the compromise affected between the parties was genuine, therefore, the appeal jointly filed by the convicts was allowed and they were acquitted of the charges levelled against them.

The appellants included two brothers named Salahuddin and Samiullah and former’s wife Saeeda Bibi. They were accused of killing Fareeha Bibi, a sister-in-law of the two male convicts, and throwing her body in a pond. The deceased blamed for facilitating friendship between a minor niece of the male convicts with a boy of the area.

The trial court had on April 7, 2022, found the three appellants guilty of the offence and sentenced them to life imprisonment with fine of Rs300,000 each, which had to be paid to legal heirs of the deceased as compensation.

Appeal accepted as compromise takes place between parties

Initially, on August 10, 2020, Salahuddin and Samiullah had approached the officials of Owir police station in Upper Chitral and informed them that their brother Sheikhul Islam had been in Saudi Arabia for labour work whereas their sister-in-law Fareeha Bibi had been residing with her two minor daughters. They had stated that their 14-year-old niece (sister’s daughter) had also been residing with Fareeha Bibi.

They claimed that Fareeha Bibi had gone missing and they searched for her but could not trace her. Later on, her body was found in a pond.

When Sheikhul Islam came back from Saudi Arabia, he charged his two brothers and a sister-in-law for killing his wife. He claimed that the appellants suspected that his wife was facilitating friendship between their niece with a man in the area.

Later on, the niece of the appellants also appeared as a witness before the trial court and provided an eyewitness account of how the woman was strangulated to death by the appellants.

In August last year, when the court was hearing the appeal, it was informed that compromise had been affected between the parties. The record of the case was sent to the trial court for conducting the compromise proceedings and to submit its report about its genuineness.

Subsequently, in December 2022, the trial court submitted a report according to which two pieces of land worth Rs1.478 million had been transferred by the appellants’ party in the name of two minor daughters of the deceased women named Aisha and Umme Salma.

Another deed was produced according to which another property worth Rs1.08 million had also been transferred in the name of the two minor daughters of the deceased.

A representative of the deceased woman’s husband Shaikhul Islam informed the court that he had no objection to acquittal of the appellants on the ground of compromise.

The bench also directed that the attested copies of the compromise deed should be produced before the sub-registrar for proper registration in the names of the minor legal heirs of the deceased woman.

Published in Dawn, March 20th, 2023

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