PAKISTAN: Bodies of the five women buried alive desecrated by the wild animals

The human remains of the five women who were buried alive in Balochistan province have been and the provincial government has done nothing to provide a decent burial for these victims of honour killings. The provincial government, through its home secretary, has denied the incident reported in the Asian Human Rights Commission’s Urgent Appeal, PAKISTAN: Five women buried alive, allegedly by the brother of a minister which may be seen at: The provincial government instead reported that three women were killed by unknown tribal men. However, the secretary of home affairs has not clarified in his statement as to how the women in question were killed, the whereabouts of their graves, who their relatives are and why a case of murder has not been filed by the victim’s family. Furthermore they have not explained as to why the police have not taken any action since July 18, the date of the incident. In fact, the secretary was completely silent on the incident until the issuance of the AHRC’s Urgent Appeal. In fact, the authorities have spent more time and effort in trying to identify those who provided the information of murders than they have in trying to identify the murderers.

The police officers of the Jafferabad district, Balochistan have not been taken to task for failing to investigate this horrendous crime, nor for their gross and criminal negligence in not arresting the culprits. They have not even taken the time to visit the area reported to the site of the murders.

The alleged perpetrator, Mr. Abdul Sattar Umrani, is the younger brother of the provincial minister for housing and construction and is moving about freely. He is pressurizing the activists of the opposition parties of the district to name those persons who provided the initial information of the incident to the AHRC.

Eye witnesses have reported that wild animals, including dogs are desecrating the bodies which have been partially uncovered. Villagers in the area are carrying out the grim task of collecting body parts and reburying them in the same area. The victims were two ladies and three young women between the ages of 16 and 18 whose only crime was wanting to marry the husbands of their choice.

The governments of Pakistan and Balochistan province appear to have no interested in solving this case and are simply relying on information provided by the local government officials who are protecting tribal and political leaders. The people of the area are being terrorized by these powerful tribal leaders who use the police as their personal thugs. According to media reports the women of the district are so scared that, after this incident, many families are refusing to send their girls to school.

It is the duty of the governments, both at federal and provincial levels, to provide protection to every citizen, particularly women from the tribal and inhuman customs against the fragile sections of the population. The government should start an enquiry into this incident in which five women were brutally buried alive. If nothing is done to bring the perpetrators to justice, honour killings, forced marriages and violence against women will become norms of the society and the powerful groups will unleash their atrocities on weakest sections of the society.

Prime Minister Syed Yousaf Raza Gillani should take a personal interest in this case and ensure that action is taken against the perpetrators, whether they are from his own party or ministers of his provincial government. The police officers who have failed to take action to investigate and arrest the perpetrators should be investigated and disciplinary action taken against them. As an initial and immediate action they should be transferred so that independent investigators may make an impartial inquiry. The government must immediately recover the bodies, conduct autopsies and DNA tests. The government should also search for the whereabouts of the family members of the unfortunate women who have left the area because of intimidation and threats from the perpetrators. And finally, the government must afford these poor unfortunate women a decent burial.

It is shameful that the government of a Muslim country allows body parts to be desecrated and lay scattered by the roadside without taking action. It is also very depressing to note that the provincial government of Balochistan is denying the incident in order to protect one of its cabinet members.

Document Type : Statement
Document ID : AHRC-STM-215-2008
Countries : Pakistan,