‘Why aren’t you in Islamic dress?’
GUJRANWALA – Provincial Minister for Social Welfare Zille Huma Usman was assassinated on Tuesday noon soon after her arrival at PML House Gujranwala to hear complaints of the people in an open kutchery.
She was removed to DHQ hospital from where she was shifted to General Hospital Lahore where she succumbed to injuries. The killer was caught on the spot by her driver and handed over to Civil Lines Police.
The news of attack on provincial minister spread in the city like jungle fire and hundreds of PML workers and supporters reached the hospital. Zille Huma Usman reached PML House at 11:45 am to address an open kutchery amid warm welcome by lady workers showering rose petals on her. She was about to take her seat when Maulvi Mohammad Sarwar, sitting among complainants, stood up and shot her at face with 30 bore pistol from a distance less than six feet.
She was hit on left side of her face and fell unconscious. The assailant was caught by her driver just when he prepared to fire another shot. Panic spread in the area. She was removed to DHQ hospital where team of surgeons provided her first-aid while hundreds of people gathered outside Trauma Centre of the hospital. Due to head injury and insufficient surgery facilities at the local hospital, the Punjab minister was shifted to General Hospital Lahore by Chief Minister’s helicopter. She succumbed to her injuries during surgery there.
DIG Operations Khadim Hussein Bhatti told reporters that killer Maulvi Mohammad Sarwar had confessed his crime and said that women were not supposed to rule the country in accordance with the orders of Almighty Allah. DIG Operations added that high-level investigation had been initiated and all aspects of the killing would be probed.
An official told AFP that the fanatic killed minister because she was not wearing Muslim clothing. Zilla Huma Usman, 35, the Punjab province minister for social welfare, was known as a women’s rights activist and had previously promoted a mini-marathon involving female runners that sparked riots in 2005.
“He killed her because she was not observing the Islamic code of dress. She was also campaigning for emancipation of women,” local police officer Nazir Ahmad said.
“The suspect is an extremist and he has a history of targeting women whom he believed to be immoral.”
Officials said Huma joined the Pakistan Muslim League after being elected in 2002 and backed Musharraf’s policy of ‘enlightened moderation’ designed to tackle extremism.
She encouraged the holding of a mini-marathon involving female competitors in Gujranwala in April 2005.
She worked as parliamentary secretary for planning and development from August 2003 to November 2006 and had been appointed to her current post in December 1, 2006, according to her government biography. 36 years old Zille Huma Usman, the wife of Dr Muhammad Usman Haider, was born on September 16, 1971.
She obtained the degree of LL.B in 1997 and MA (Political Science) in 1998 from University of the Punjab, Lahore. She was elected as Member Provincial Assembly of Punjab in General Elections 2002 against reserved women seat.
Source: The Nation