SAHIWAL, May 22: A mother of four has been missing for 255 days and her brother and husband blame her brothers-in-law kidnapped her for ransom and later killed her. During the period, which makes good eight months, police, however, did not take any action, Dawn has learnt.
Javed Iqbal says her sister Tahira Bibi was married to Muhammad Ramzan, of 50/12-L in Chichawatni, in 1988.
In 1994, Ramzan and his wife shifted to Karachi where he had launched his own business of selling iron windows. In 2002, he moved to Saudi Arabia and since then has been living in Taif. Tahira, however, shifted to her own house built in Chak 116/12-L, instead of living with her in-laws as she was not on talking terms with her brothers-in-law Muhammad Saleem and Muhammad Amjad.
Javed said Ramzan sent Rs10,000 a month to his brothers for her family, which were not given to Tahira. Later, Ramzan started sending money directly to Tahira, which irked his brothers.
Javed said Ramzan asked him to look after Tahira and her children -- Humaira (18), Gulshan (17), Kashif (16) and Kamran, 15.
Javed said that on Sept 5, 2007, Amjad informed Tahira that Ramzan had sent Rs50,000 from Saudi Arabia for her and which she could collect from bank.
“On Sept 6, 2007, she went to Chichawatni to collect the money and never came back,” Javed said. Mukhtar and Sarfraz, of the village, saw Tahira in Chichawatni city on that day, he claimed.
“On Sept 7, 2007, Amjad phoned me in Saudi Arabia that Tahira had been kidnapped for a Rs50,000 ransom. He said one man from Chichawatni and three people from Faisalabad are involved in the kidnapped,” Ramzan informed Dawn via phone from Taif. He said he called President Pervez Musharraf and then Punjab inspector general Ahmed Naseem for help but all in vain.
He said he also contacted Muhammad Iqbal Jat, elder brother of MPA Arshad Jat, an influential of Chichawatni, for help but he informed him that Tahira had been killed.
“The announcement of her death was a bombshell to me,” he said.
Ramzan said he had informed the Kassowal police station from Saudi Arabia but Station House Officer (SHO) Muhammad Afzal Lodhi refused to register a first information report.
“The SHO said politicians had pressured him not to register any FIR against Amjad,” Javed said.
On Sept 13, Javed said, he got information that a body of woman was found in cotton fields in Chak 48/12-L.
“I went to the Saddar police station but was told to come in the morning at the Tehsil Headquarters hospital to see the body. In the morning, I went to the hospital but the staff did not show me the body,” Javed said. He said he contacted Iqbal Jat for help who asked him to come to his outhouse.
"While I was at the outhouse of Jat, the municipal staff hurriedly buried the body. We believe the dead woman was Tahira."
Ramzan, who is still in Saudi Arabia and never came back since his departure, accused his brothers Saleem and Amjad of killing Tahira. He said he could not visit Pakistan as he had lost his documents there.
He demanded Saleem and Amjad be tried for “murdering” his wife and the grave of the “unidentified” woman be exhumed for a DNA testing.
When Dawn talked to Iqbal Jat about his role in the ghastly episode, he said he did not know anything about the incident except for Ramzan had called him from Saudi Arabia for help.
Saleem switched off his mobile phone when Dawn called him for his version.
After a lapse of eight months, Chichawatni DSP Sadiq Chandia ordered an inquiry on Thursday.