PAKISTAN: A girl was raped and kidnapped by the relatives of a minister and her whereabouts are unknown


Urgent Appeal Case: AHRC-UAC-008-2009
ISSUES: Enforced disappearances and abductions, Impunity, Rule of law, Sexual violence, Violence against women, Women's rights,

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Dear friends, 

The Asian Human Rights Commission (AHRC) has received information that an 18-year-old girl, trafficked to a family through marriage, has been raped by her father-in-law and other male members of his family for almost one month. After she managed to escape, a Jirga (illegal court) was held and they ordered that the girl be returned to her parents. However, a second Jirga ordered that she be returned to her husband and his family on the basis that the girl’s parents had taken money for the marriage of the girl. With the order of the Jirga, the girl was kidnapped on October 21, 2008 and her whereabouts remain unknown. The nephew of a provincial minister was reportedly involved in conducting the Jirga and because of involvement of this minister the police are not taking action against the abduction and rape. 


Ms. R (name withheld for security reason), 18, resident of street no 7, Pathan Mohalla, Mithiani, Tehsil and district Naushahro Feroz, Sindh province, was married to Mr. Zamir Bhurt, son of Mr. Luqman Bhurt after payment of Rs. 100,000 (USD 1,430) was made to her parents. The father of bridegroom agreed that he would pay 40,000 Rupees (USD 570) before the marriage and the remaining amount at the time of her handover husband at the marriage ceremony. According to the information received, the Bhurt family did not pay the entire amount as they were relatives of the Provincial Minister of Livestock. However, the girl’s family, due to their poverty, decided to hand the girl over to the bridegroom. 

According to the girl’s parents, when the girl reached her in-laws, she was told that she was not to be married but had been sold to the Bhurt family. She then found out that she was to be sexually available for all the males of the family including the father-in-law. Making some excuses on medical grounds, she managed to escape from the family. 

As she did not return, the in-laws contacted Mr. Nooral Khan Bhurt to conduct a Jirga. He is the land lord and tribal chief of the Bhurt tribe and nephew of Mr. Abdul Haque Bhurt, Provincial Minister of Livestock. Whereas the girl’s father-in-law and three other male persons of the same family claimed that all of them contributed some money for her purchase, the Jirga, conducted by Mr. Nooral Bhurt, found they were guilty of raping her. It ordered that Ms. R should reside at her parents’ house and that only Mr. Zamir Bhurt may visit her house as husband. 

After some days, the father-in-law sent an appeal to the Jirga leader asking for a revision of his decision. The Jirga was called again in the first week of October 2008. He pleaded that since they have now paid full amount of Rs. 100,000, the girl should go back to her in-laws. Mr. Nooral Bhurt decided that she should be returned to the Bhurt family. The order was delivered to Ms. R who refused to go back as she was afraid that she would be raped by the male members of the family, including the father-in-law. Her refusal was conveyed to the Jirga. It then ordered that she be taken by force from her parents. 

On the night of October 21, 2008, Mr. Zamir and his father, along with 20 armed men attacked her house in an attempt to kidnap her. As there was resistance from the family, the assailants using guns fired indiscriminately. Ms. R, her mother and her grandmother were severely injured while one attacker from the raiding party was shot dead. The neighbours phoned the police but they refused to come as the case involved a Jirga. The attackers then took the injured Ms. R away with them announcing that no one can remove her from their custody. Since then her whereabouts remain unknown. 

After the situation was over, the police came to investigate. While they were there, the cell phone of the dead assailant started ringing. However, the police did not know that he was killed in the firing. The Station Head Officer (SHO) of the Mithiani Police Station, Naushahro Feroz district, Mr. Waris Siyal, picked up the ringing cell phone. He heard the attackers asking the dead man to come to a hidden location where they were holding Ms. R. However, the SHO did not take any action. 

On following day, the police arrested the father of Ms. R for the murder of one attacker and refused to file cases on the kidnapping of Ms. R and the attack on her house. Mr. Waris Siyal, the SHO, reportedly has good connections in the new provincial government. Previously he was suspended from his job on three occasions and arrested once. It is believed that he is enjoying his position because of being a good friend of the Provincial Minister of Livestock. 

Due to the police bias, people from different villages and small cities held protests, wheel jammed strikes and shutter-downed shops. They strongly requested the police to file cases against the seven perpetrators but not the relatives of the provincial minister. No one has yet been arrested. 

The provincial government of the Pakistan Peoples Party (PPP) has refused to help the victims. However, local leaders and activists of PPP are agitating against their leadership for taking the side of powerful people. The women leadership of the party and women ministers have not intervened in this case as the provincial minister is close friend of Mr. Asif Zardari, the President of Pakistan. 

Please write a letter to the government authorities, urging them to thoroughly investigate this case so that those perpetrators are prosecuted and punished according to law. 

Please be informed that the AHRC has also written letter to the UN Special Rapporteur on violence against women calling for intervention in this case.

To support this case, please click here: SEND APPEAL LETTER


Dear _______, 

PAKISTAN: A girl was raped and kidnapped by the relatives of a minister and her whereabouts are unknown 

Name of victims: Ms. R; 18 year old (detailed information withheld for her security) 
Name of alleged perpetrators
1. Mr. Zamir Bhurt son of Luqman Bhurt 
2. Mr. Luqman Bhurt father of Zamir and a landlord of the area, Resident of Kacha area, Mithiani, Naushahro Feroz, Sindh Province, PAKISTAN 
3. Mr. Nooral Bhurt, land lord and tribal chief of the Bhurt tribe and also nephew of a provincial minister, resident of Kacha ka illaqa, Mithiani, Naushahro Feroz, Sindh province, PAKISTAN 
4. Mr. Waris Siyal, Station House Officer (SHO) of Mithiani Police station, Naushahro Feroz, Sindh province, PAKISTAN 

I am writing to express my deep concerns regarding the incapability of the police in the case where a girl was trafficked under the name of marriage and raped by several male persons from the husband’ family. 

According to the information that I have received, Ms. R who was to be married to Mr. Zamir Bhurt was told on the day of marriage ceremony that she was sent to his family not for her marriage but for sexual abuse. She was then repeatedly raped for about a month by at least four males from her husband’s family including her father-in-law. 

I am informed that when she managed to escape from this marriage and did not return, a Jirga conducted by Mr. Nooral Khan Bhurt, a nephew of Mr. Abdul Haque Bhurt, provincial minister of Livestock, was held and found that they were guilty of rape against her even though they claimed that the girl’s father-in-law and four other male persons contributed some money for her purchase. Some days later, another Jirga was held by the request of the father-in-law and ordered the victim to come back to husband’s family. As she refused to follow this order, the Jirga ordered that she be taken by force from her parents. 

From the information that I have learned, with the order of the Jirga, about 20 armed men along with her husband and father-in-law attacked the house of Ms. R on the night of October 11, 2008. As the result of this attack, one person from the group was killed in this process and Ms. R was kidnapped. Since this incident, her whereabouts has been unknown. 

After all the situation was finished, a police led by Mr. Waris Siyal, the Station Head Officer (SHO) of the Mithiani Police Station, Naushahro Feroz district came for investigation. Even though the SHO came to know where the girl was kidnapped after taking the phone that left behind the dead attack, he did not take any action and arrested the girl’s father on murder of one attacker instead on following day. In addition, police have refused to file this matter for investigation. 

The police neither investigate this case nor arrest those responsible. I am also informed that the reason behind the police inaction is that the SHO has good connections in the new provincial government and since this case was involved in his relatives, he has failed to take further action on this case. Politicians who used to help victims of human rights violation have also kept in silence. 

I therefore urge you to immediately locate the victim and provide her for security so that she can no longer live in fear of rape and sexual abuse. Those responsible for the trafficking of the victim are thoroughly investigated, prosecuted and punished in accordance with law. The failure of proper investigation and negligence of filing case by police need to address as early as possible. Since it appears to the public that the police lost independence of investigation, I also urge you to establish independent body to investigate this case in order to prevent any political influence or hindrance. 

I take this opportunity to draw your attention to the fact that the system called ‘Jirga‘ has been still used even though it was declared illegal by the Supreme Court. If the government has not taken any action to eradicate it, it will be remain at risk of the rule of law in the country and take much longer time to recover the system of rule of law. 

Yours sincerely, 


1. Mr. Asif Ali Zardari 
President’s Secretariat 
Fax: +92 51 922 1422, 4768 / 920 1893 or 1835 

2. Mr. Syed Yousaf Raza Gillani 
Prime minister of Pakistan 
Prime Minister House 
Fax: +92 51 9221596 
Tel: +92 51 9206111 

3. Mr. Rehman Malik 
Advisor for Ministry of Interior 
Room No. 404, 4th Floor, R Block, 
Pak Secretariat 
Fax: +92 51 920 2624 
Tel: +92 51 921 2026 

4. Dr. Ishrat-ul-Ebad Khan 
Governor of Sindh province 
Karachi, Sindh Province 
Fax: +92 21 920 5043 
Tel: +92 21 920 1201 

5. Syed Qaim Ali Shah 
Chief Minister House 
Karachi, Sindh Province 
Fax: +92 21 920 2000 

6. Chief Justice of Sindh High Court 
High Court Building 
Saddar, Karachi 
Sindh Province 
Fax: +92 21 9213220 

7. Ms. Nadia Gabol 
Minister for Human Rights 
Government of Sindh, 
Pakistan secretariat, Barrack 92, 
Karachi, Sindh Province 
Tel: +92 21 9207043 
Fax: +92 21 9207044 

8. Secretary 
(Criminal Prosecution) SGA &CD Department 
Government of Sindh 
Sindh Secretariat, 
Karachi, Sindh Province 
Tel: +92 21 9213327-6 
Fax: +92 21 9213873 

9. Dr. Zulfiqar Ali Mirza 
Minister for Home 
Government of Sindh 
Barrack 79, Pakistan Secretariate 
Near MPA hostel 
Karachi, Sindh Province 
Fax: +92 21 9204456 
Tel: +92 21 9201920-1 

Thank you. 

Urgent Appeals Programme 
Asian Human Rights Commission (