HRCP fears for life of woman under tribal customs -Pakistan Press Foundation (PPF)

Paksitan Press Foundtion

HRCP fears for life of woman under tribal customs

GILGIT, Jan 7: The lawyers of the Human Rights Commission of Pakistan on Wednesday feared for the life of a married woman being taken to Swabi, after her parents obtained her custody on Tuesday from a local court.

Civil judge Khursheed Khan allowed Rubina to go with her parents after two surety bonds of Rs1 million each were produced by her husband and brother, respectively. The judge also ordered the NWFP police to inform Gilgit police when she would be handed over to the local magistrate in Swabi.

“Even though the local civil court has accepted the plea of her parents that she would be provided all security and safety, the tribal traditions and customs would prevail once she crossed the Northern Areas boundary,” HRCP lawyers Amjad Hussain and Asadullah Khan and Imran observed.

They said they were well-aware of the ordeal, Rubina, a resident of Topi, Swabi district, NWFP, had been undergoing with her husband, Shamsur Rahman. They said the woman would be in serious trouble once she reached Swabi.

Talking to Dawn in the court premises, Swabi police officer Shaukat Khan said Rubina was reported by her husband as missing in Swabi on Dec 17, 2003, and since then a search had been under way.

He denied that an FIR had been lodged in Swabi, and neither was one lodged in Hunza where she was tracked down. A Hunza police official said Rubina was arrested in a house in Aliabad four days ago on the report of Swabi police, reportedly along with her alleged paramour Mushtaque, an Army man, also a resident of Swabi.

The Hunza police added that Mushtaque had been given into the custody of the military police, and he had taken Rubina first to Skardu, his duty station. The woman was sent to Gilgit jail until HRCP lawyers obtained a stay order to stop her from being handed over to NWFP police without any security.

In the premises of the court Rubina told Dawn that she ‘only wanted to go with her parents’. She refused to answer when asked whether she was willing to go with her husband Shamsur Rahman, who was also present in the court premises.

She said that Rahman had married thrice, but again went silent when asked if he was her tormentor. Rahman said he was a shopkeeper, and not a smuggler, as alleged by his wife and never committed any crime against her. But he affirmed that he had three wives, including Rubina, while his other two wives were perennially sick.

“Can you imagine a man with a beard (indicating himself) meting out physical punishment to his wife,” he asked the reporters present. When he was informed that his inner motives was not writ large on his forehead, he dragged Rubina’s parents forward to be witnesses. Rubina, constantly sobbing throughout the whole ordeal, was very disturbed and frightened, even though she was in the presence of her parents and brother. She kept silent throughout the questioning by reporters, and was plainly reluctant to go with her husband.

Her parents, Tasleem and Ummar Hasan, however claimed no torture had been meted out to Rubina by her husband. They however had this to say which gave a glimpse about her life: “Sometimes bad luck leads people to the wrong path and this is what exactly happened with our daughter,” they said.

Rubina’s brother Moeen repeated his parents opinion about his sister, saying that no harm would come to her, and that her “mistake” had already been condoned.

Rubina’s 5-year-old son, Ali Haider, was also brought to the court premises, but was too young to express any feelings about what was going on. Meanwhile, NWFP police would accompany her to Swabi along with her parents, brother and husband, police said.
Source: Dawn
Date:1/8/2004