Urgent Appeal Case: AHRC-UAC-017-2012 – 6 February 2012 – The Asian Human Rights Commission (AHRC) has received information that a couple from Pakistani held Kashmir has threatened with being shot on sight by Jihadi militant groups whenever they are seen at any place in Pakistan. The militants from the Jihadi groups (Islamic holy warriors) have been following the couple from their hide out and given ammunition to the residents of the nearby houses to disclose the whereabouts of the couple. The death threat to the couple was announced in a local illegal court known as a Jirga, which was held in the presence of and with the knowledge and cooperation of the police. Jirgas have been declared illegal by the courts. The couple has also written letters to the highest police officer of the district about the death threats but no action has been taken because of the involvement of Jihadi groups who work under the state intelligence agencies to conduct subversive activities inside the Indian held Kashmir.
The lives of the couple are in danger and at any moment they might be abducted and killed.
CASE NARRATIVE: Miss Tahira Hayat (27), daughter of Hayat Khan Mughal married Mr. Saeed Hussain Shah (29), son of Tufail Hussain Shah, a resident of Tehseel Rawalakot, Pakistani Kashmir, on January 26 in a civil court, which has infuriated Tahira’s family members who are from the Jihadi militant groups working for Jihad (holy war) in Indian Held Kashmir.
In 2007, the family members of Shah, the groom, contacted those of the bride for marriage with Shah, a transport driver. This offered was refused as Shah is not as well educated as Tahira. The other reason was that both were genuinely in love which was not liked by the family from a jihadi background as it is against their Islamic tradition. Tahira was married in 2007 with her cousin when she was in the custody of her parents who beat her to follow their decision. After the marriage she told her strange husband that she already loved Shah so it would be difficult for her to carry out the marriage. The former husband happily divorced her in 2008. Again she was dealt with cruelly by her parents. She was also a teacher and started her M. Ed (Master of Education).
During the M. Ed examinations she married Shah on 26 January 2012 in a civil court of Rawalpindi, 130 kilometers away from her district. This infuriated her family and other Jihadi groups. On 28 January when the couple was going to market from their hide out more than six armed men tried to abduct her at gun point and at the time when she was being dragged into a car by the attackers the couple begged the passers-by to help. With the help of people in the area they were able to escape but the abductors threatened them. The couple quickly informed the Chacklala Airport police station but as is usual when religious militants are involved the police refused to file the case. The couple then filed an application before the First Class Magistrate of Rawalpindi, Punjab province.
The parents of the bride with the help of officers from the Datot police station, Rawalakot held a Jirga and the police forced the family members of the groom to attend. The Jirga was held on 3 February, in which the representatives from the bride’s parents were eight persons including three leaders of local Jihadi organizations, two of them from banned terrorist and sectarian organizations. They demanded, in front of the police representatives from Datot police station, Rawalakot, that the family surrenders the couple who would be shot in public before the whole community. At this point the Jirga proceeding was stopped because the family members refused to comply. Then with the intervention from the police the representatives of the bride’s father, Mughal, asked that Tahira Hayat be handed over so that they could kill her in the name of honour as she had tarnished the honour of the Mughal family. They also demanded Rs. one million and a girl from the groom’s family as compensation for this marriage. The police approved the deal but the family members of the groom refused.
On the behalf of the bride’s parents, Molana Aftaab Kashir, Saleem Javed, Muhammad Hussain Bashani and Rasheed, all members of banned Jihadi parties, refused to accept the apology from the groom’s family and emphasized the severe punishment awaiting the couple. This was his murder and that of his wife in order to set an example to others not to marry without their parent’s permission. The representatives were from Sipahe Sahaba, Jamaat-ud-Dawa and other local terrorist groups which are banned under Pakistani law. The date of February 4 was fixed as the deadline to hand over the couple to Mughal’s family and the police was instructed by the Jirga that if they were arrested then the police were also to hand over the couple to the Jihadi leaders for their final fate.
The Jihadi groups were told by their informers that the couple was visiting the office of their lawyer in Rawalpindi city, 130 kilometers away from their village. The Jihadis attacked the office premises with firearms but were unable to enter the lawyer’s premises. They manhandled one person from the law office and at gun point demanded the whereabouts of the couple. The man was told that he was to inform them when they turned up.
The lives of Tahira and her husband Shah are in grave danger and at any moment they could be abducted and killed by the Jihadi groups. They have no recourse to the police as it is the very officers of the Datot police station, Rawalakot, who are providing assistance and impunity to the Jihadis.
Asian Human Rights Commission
#701A Westley Square,
48 Hoi Yuen Road, Kwun Tong, Kowloon,
Tel: +(852) 2698-6339
Fax: +(852) 2698-6367