PAKISTAN: Government tries to derail the case of a young girl who was shot dead after being mauled by the murderer’s dogs

November 7, 2008

A Statement by the Asian Human Rights Commission

PAKISTAN: Government tries to derail the case of a young girl who was shot dead after being mauled by the murderer’s dogs

The special representative of President Asif Zardari has completed her probe into a brutal murder of a 17-year-old girl that came to light late October and she will submit report in day or two. The case, which may be seen at: involved the killing of Ms Taslim Solangi in Sindh Province in March 2008 by her uncle/father-in-law (the irregularity of the uncle being the father-in-law is due to the Muslim custom that allows marriage among cousins). The girl was mauled by dogs and then shot dead in front of her father after he refused to hand over land to her husband’s family. The report, which has been sent to the president, is gravely flawed.

The Asian Human Rights Commission is not satisfied with the probe, firstly, because it was carried out in the presence of the same officials who allowed the case go uninvestigated for several months (during which time a Jirga court was held, the murderers vindicated and an unrelated person punished). Mr. Liaquat Ali Abbasi, Deputy Superintendent of Police (DSP) is still performing his duties, he was holding the same office on March 6 when the murder of Taslim Solangi happened and he was not prepared to take action against perpetrators of an honour killing. The Sub Inspector, Mr. Yar Mohammad Phalpoto, the investigation officer of the case, is also still at his post even though he has yet to carry out any investigation. His presence is itself a good demonstration of intimidation and misuse of power. Mr. Pir Mohammad Shah, the District Police Officer (DPO) has been in the district since August and is fully aware of the honour killing of a 17-year-old girl but has not initiated any enquiry in to the case. During his presence the father of the girl was kept in detention and on more than one was paraded naked in the village. Once again the DPO has done nothing. The girl’s father-in-law, Mr. Zameer Solangi, and his brother Mr. Habib Solangi are still at large and living openly in the neighbourhood where the crime took place (Shah Jana and Ahmedpur). The former has openly threatened to kill the parents of the girl.  In such a situation such a probe cannot be impartial and it is surprising that the representative, Ms Nafisa Shah, did not consider this. As a result it is unsurprising that evidence has been so scant and legitimate witnesses hard to come by.

The parents and other family members of the dead girl have been taken 500km away to Khairpur Mirs, where they were kept for some days in a vocational school by the police. There, with the connivance of local administration the family members and friends of the killers arranged demonstrations against the parents of victim. Police officials who have visited Taslim’s detained relatives at vocational institution at Khairpur city have indicated that they (Parents of Taslim) will be arrested for murder of their daughter, once Ms. Shah completes her probe and leaves the area. Sindh police seem to be giving unusual credence to a first information report (FIR) filed by Zameer, the girl’s murderer, on March 6, 2008, in which he names her parents as the killers. Some other pieces of evidence, such as that provided by a journalist, Mr. Ajeeb Lakho, from Daily Koshish (who saw bite injuries on the girl’s body just after the incident) has not been accepted by Ms. Shah, the probe officer.

The AHRC would also like to point out that this incident occurred in Ms Shah’s electoral constituency, and that she – considering her position as a defender of woman’s rights – may find it embarrassing to concede that such atrocities can take place and remain uninvestigated for half a year on her patch.

In terms of evidence and of witnesses, it should be known that while statements were being taken from local residents, the main question being pushed was the identity of the person who released the information to the outside world. Such people, should they become known, would be in danger. All such statements were taken before the area’s district police officer or members of the local administration. The officials did not accept the eyewitness testimony of the victim’s father, who was detained and forced to watch as his daughter was mauled. On the other hand they have stood by a report offered by the perpetrators themselves. It is also curious that the administration has not yet been able to find Taslim’s grave, and therefore cannot perform an autopsy.

The AHRC demands that the probe of the incident should be conducted by such a person who should belong to an unrelated area and who has no vested interest in the case. All high officials of the administration and police who have been involved in the case or who have been located there since several months should be replaced, since their presence is contrary to an independent and impartial enquiry. A new board of doctors must be formed to conduct the autopsy of the body of Taslim Solangi, when located, and all those with suspected involvement in this most brutal murder must be arrested, to allow witnesses to come forward in safety. Taslim’s family is currently in a vulnerable position. They must be provided with legitimate security, while remaining involved in the case.

Document Type : Statement
Document ID : AHRC-STM-286-2008
Countries : Pakistan,