Human Rights Group: Five Women Buried Alive After Women Tried to Marry Men of Their Choice

The Asian Human Rights Commission (AHRC) has released a frightening account of its continued investigation into the alleged burning alive of five women in Pakistan after three of the women tried to marry men of their own choosing. The incident reportedly occurred in a remote area of Balochistan province and involved the younger brother of Mr. Sadiq Umrani, the provincial minister and a prominent leader of the Pakistan People’s Party. After one month, no arrests or progress has been made by police investigating the matter.

The allegations involve the very conservative Islamic traditions of the Umrani tribe that is concentrated in the Jafarabad and Naseerabad districts of Balochistan. Critics have blamed Mr. Sadiq Umrani, the provincial minister for housing and construction, for derailing the investigation.

According to the information received, five women were Ms. Fatima, wife of Umeed Ali Umrani, Jannat Bibi, wife of Qaiser Khan, Fauzia, daughter of Ata Mohammad Umrani, and two other girls, aged between 16 to 18 years. They were at the house of Mr. Chandio at Baba Kot village and to leave for a civil court at Usta Mohammad, district Jafarabad, so that three of the girls could marry the men of their choice. Their decision to have marriage in court was the result of several days of discussions with the elders of the tribe who refused them permission to marry. The names of two younger girls were not ascertained because of strong control of tribal leaders in the area.

As the news of their plans leaked out, Mr. Abdul Sattar Umrani, a brother of the minister, came with more than six persons and abducted them at gun points. They were taken in a Land Cruiser jeep, bearing a registration number plate of the Balochistan government, to another remote area, Nau Abadi, in the vicinity of Baba Kot. After reaching the deserted area of Nau Abadi, Abdul Sattar Umrani and his six companions took the three younger women out of the jeep and beat them before allegedly opening fire with their guns. The girls were seriously injured but were still alive at that moment. Sattar Umrani and his accomplices hurled them into a wide ditch and covered them with earth and stones. The two older women were an aunt of Fauzia and the other, the mother of one minor. When they protested and tried to stop the burial of the minors that were plainly alive, the attackers were so angry that they also pushed them into the ditch and buried all alive. After completing the burial, they fired several shots into to the air so that no one would come close.

The Human Rights group has noted:

alleged perpetrator, Mr. Abdul Sattar Umrani, the brother of the provincial minister, was also involved in murder of three persons, including one young woman, in January 2006. That case was similar in that a school teacher, Mr. Mohammad Aslam, was going with his lover in a taxi to a civil court to court marry. The perpetrators stopped them at Manjo Shori, sub district Tumboo, District Naseerabad and killed all three persons by gun fire. The dead included the taxi driver, Mr. Jabal Aidee. The police were unable to institute a murder case for five months until the intervention of Mr. Iftekhar Choudhry, the deposed Chief Justice of the Supreme Court and also the deputy speaker of Senate. But only one person was arrested and the perpetrator Abdul Sattar Umrani remained at large.

It is only the latest such alleged atrocity against women and girls in this region, here

What I do not understand is why the media and governments have not done more to raise awareness of these horrific accounts of the treatment of women in this region. Pakistan, Afghanistan, and other countries cannot claim religious privilege to violate core human rights. Putting aside that most Muslims are equally horrified by such stories, no religious practice or belief can justify the reduction of women to mere chattel to be abused and killed by fanatics in these cases.
For the Asian Human Rights Commission story, click here.

7 thoughts on “Human Rights Group: Five Women Buried Alive After Women Tried to Marry Men of Their Choice”

  1. Another example of one of Bush’s bestest friends in the War against Terror and how Democratic they are. I wonder if Bush looked into Musharraf’s eyes and ssw the man’s soul? This is what the American Taliban wants our country to be like when they say they want the bible to be the governing document in our country. What a mess that would be.

  2. Dundar,

    I already said that my examples were overly simple. They weren’t meant as end all solutions, but as examples of some of the general tactics that could be used. You asked “How are governments going to do more unless they are willing to send an army in make war on civilians?” I gave two admittedly general examples of alternatives to military action.

    Also, nuanced among other things means “Having a subtle quality,” so I was saying that there were options out there that AREN’T overly simplistic and take into account such problems as you brought up. I don’t know what those options are, but I’m not a high-level diplomat, nor an expert on Pakistani culture.

  3. gyges: so we tell Pakistan to knock this stuff off or we don’t trade with them and Pakistan replies “well, we will just sell our nuke technology to the Iranians so America you can take your suggestions and shove it”.

    Please inform me as to what our DIPLOMATIC response to that would be?

    Yes, and there is that word liberals love; “nuanced”, meaning in six months you can say that is not what we meant then.

  4. Dundar,

    Apparently in the past eight years you’ve forgotten about Diplomacy and Trade. For instance if some the Countries that trade with Pakistan say “If you don’t start enforcing laws against this sort of behavior, we’ll stop trading with you,” things might change quickly. Or alternately they could say “if you’re willing to try and stop this sort of atrocity, we’ll help by sending over some of our top law enforcement officers to trade and work with yours.” Now these are examples and simplistic, but I’m sure a more nuanced option is available.

  5. How is the media going to “do more” when they would be killed if they set foot in the region to report on these abuses.

    How are governments going to do more unless they are willing to send an army in make war on civilians.

    This is not like sending a NYC squad care to arrest a husband or wife for taking a slap at their spouse.

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