Khairpur police on Tuesday said it had arrested another prime suspect in the nine-year-old housemaid Fatima Furro’s murder case in Ranipur.
The deceased girl was employed as a domestic maid at a haveli (mansion) owned by local influential Pir Asad Shah — who is now in custody — in Khairpur’s Ranipur area and was found dead under mysterious circumstances earlier this week.
A case was subsequently lodged on the complaint of her mother, Shabnam Khatoon, under Sections 302 (intentional murder) and 34 (acts done by several persons in furtherance of a common intention) of the Pakistan Penal Code (PPC) at Ranipur police station and an investigation was initiated.
Khairpur Senior Superintendent of Police Dr Samiullah Soomro told Dawn.com today that Pir Asad’s wife and suspect Hina Shah surrendered to the police near Hyderabad.
“Actually, we had been trying to locate her. Multiple police parties were deployed between Karachi and Hyderabad by us,” he said, adding that Hina was being brought to Khairpur.
It must be noted that Hina was nominated as co-accused in the first information report of the case but she escaped arrest as she had obtained interim pre-arrest bail from Sindh High Court’s Sukkur bench.
On Saturday, Hina approached the Hyderabad circuit bench of the SHC for bail again. However, her application was rejected on account that she had earlier approached the court’s Sukkur bench and was bailed for seven days but she failed to approach proper forum for seeking relief during the bail term.
Speaking to Dawn.com today, Hina’s counsel Wali Mohammad Khoso said his client was supposed to appear before the Sindh High Court’s circuit bench today in Hyderabad but she failed to do so.
Court rejects Ranipur pir’s petition
Khoso further stated that he had filed a contempt of court petition today against Assistant Superintendent of Police (ASP) Noman Zafar, Inspector Abdul Jabbar Memon, Station House Officer (SHO) police station Sobho Dero, Inspector Mohammad Bachal Kazi, SHO police station Ranipur for arresting Fayyaz Shah — father of Hina and one of the co-accused.
Ranipur police picked up Pir Fayaz Shah on Friday after he was given protective pre-arrest bail till 26 September in the murder case by Sindh High Court’s Hyderabad circuit bench on 20 September.
However, the court today disposed of application on the grounds that it did not constitute contempt because Fayyaz Shah was arrested in another case lodged, Khoro said.
Fatima’s father Nadeem Ali Phariro had initially claimed that the girl was afflicted by some stomach-related ailment, as indicated by doctors when she was taken to a private hospital on the night of Aug 14-15.
Later, the girl died in her house after having been discharged from hospital.
Claims about her death transpiring as a result of torture came to the fore when videos of a girl bearing torture marks went viral. It was not known who leaked the videos. These videos were obtained by the police team, which also met some social activists from the area.
After the videos went viral in the district, police took notice of the matter and Sukkur Counterterrorism Department Deputy Superintendent of Police Abdul Qudoos Kalwar met the girl’s parents. He later met social activists and viewed the viral videos, subsequently reporting to the police that the matter was serious and the exhumation of Fatima’s body was required.
Subsequently, Khairpur police constituted a medical board to exhume the victim’s body and conduct a post-mortem analysis.
The report said that the girl’s body was in an advanced stage of decomposition “with bluish discolouration on the right side of the face and forehead, and greenish mottled discolouration over the left side of the face, neck and shoulder”.
It added that her abdomen was distended while hands, feet and knees were “blackish with wrinkled skin”. It also noted that there was a “reddish blister” on the right side of the perianal region (the area surrounding the anus).
Documenting the injuries, the report said that the victim had bruising over the right side of her forehead and both eyes. It said that there was also bruising on her right upper chest and back while the front side of both her arms and forearms were also bruised.
The report said that all the injuries were “antemortem in nature”, which means that they occurred before her death.
After today’s development, the three main accused, Pir Asad Shah, Hina Shah and Hina’s father, Fayyaz Shah, are now in police custody.