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Karachi

April 14, 2017

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Police fail to register case of teenage girl’s ‘honour killing’

The police case of a 15-year-old girl who apparently fell victim to honour killing on Wednesday is yet to be registered as a high-ranking official claims he was ordered to skip the autopsy and hand over the minor's body to her parents.

Sidra Sandhelo was taken to the Civil Hospital Karachi's (CHK) burns ward on Wednesday afternoon, but she succumbed to her wounds that night while she was being treated.

Hospital officials claimed that the girl had reached them with 85 per cent burn injuries and chances of her survival were minimum, but they did all they could to save her.

Police said unidentified men had broken into a house in Model Colony and set the girl on fire. But the case does not appear to be as simple as it is being made out, as a high-ranking official claims that political pressure was being exerted on the law enforcers.

“I received a number of telephone calls from my seniors ordering me to hand over the minor's body to her parents without conducting an autopsy,” he told The News. “Despite pressure, I ordered the SHO to complete all legal formalities before handing over the body to the heirs.”

He said the CHK medico-legal officer had extracted DNA samples from the girl's body to ascertain if she was raped before she was set on fire.

“The girl's heirs have refused to file a complaint and taken her body to Larkana for burial,” the officer said. “The police have contacted the family and requested them to file a police complaint.”

He claimed that the police “suspect that the girl was set on fire over honour, but we shall issue a statement when the CHK police surgeon hands us her medical reports”.

He said the heirs had initially told the police that some boys broke into the house and set the teenager on fire. However, he added, when they were requested to identify the boys, they changed their statement and claimed that the girl had committed suicide and that her aunt had witnessed it.

“Is it possible for a girl to douse herself with one and a half litres of petrol and then set herself on fire without any member of the family trying to stop her?”

When Model Colony SHO Imran was contacted for an update, he said the heirs had yet to file a complaint, adding that the police were waiting for them to return from Larkana. “We are investigating this case from every angle, but we shall issue a statement only after completing the probe.”

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