Accident or murder?

The mystery about the stoning to death of a pre-teen girl in Dadu, Sindh, continues to persist

Crime scene.

In its initial findings, the medical board constituted to ascertain the cause of death of Gul Shama Rind, apparently a pre-teen, has ruled out traditional stoning. The mystery about her death, however, persists. The board, in its initial postmortem report, declared that the girl’s neck was found broken, her jaw was also broken, and there were deep injuries on her nose and her face.

The girl, whose age remains unclear, was reported to have been stoned to death after she was allegedly declared a kari by a jirga in Shahi Makan, a village in Dadu district.

Qadir Lashari, the journalist associated with a local TV channel, who broke the story, told The News on Sunday (TNS) that he stood by his account. According to him, the girl was not killed in an accident as claimed by her relatives but was murdered following a jirga sentence.

Lashari said he had received the information from credible sources in the area. However, he did not identify the person who had headed the jirga.

Lashari added that on one hand he was facing threats from the community for his reporting and on the other some journalists were maligning him on social media. He put it down to personal grudge and professional jealousy.

On December 2, police had apprehended the parents of the deceased girl as well as two suspected accomplices after the allegations surfaced on the media.

According to the police, the death occurred on the evening of November 21 in the Kirthar mountain range of Dadu district, which borders on Balochistan. The deceased was identified as 11-year-old Gul Shama Rind. After learning about the incident, Dadu SSP Dr Farrukh Raza Malik sent a police team headed by DSP Pir Bux Chandio to Karo Kot village, where the killing was reported to have taken place. Wahi Pandhi police later arrested Maulvi Mumtaz Laghari who had led the funeral prayers in a village near Shahi Makan. Police were also deployed at the grave.

SSP Malik said that police were verifying the facts. He said they had arrested the deceased girl’s parents, Ali Bakhsh Rind and Laila, and a maulvi who had led the funeral prayers, as well as another man who had facilitated the burial.

The SSP said he was personally questioning the suspects in view of the sensitive nature of the issue.

A murder case has been registered on the complaint of ASI Ghulam Qadir Gopang. The FIR has been registered under Sections 302 (murder) and 201.

The SSP said according to the family the girl had died “accidentally during landsliding on the mountain”. The parents are residents of Shahi Makan.

Some of the local people said Maulvi Mumtaz Leghari, who led the funeral prayers had told some people in Wahi Pandhi about the ‘mysterious’ death of a girl and speculated a jirga ordained killing.

“We need to verify the facts because there have been various claims as to the nature of her death, including ritual stoning by several people,” said SSP Malik.

SSP Malik said an autopsy will help conclude the matter.

Pakistan Peoples Party Chairman Bilawal Bhutto, Sindh Chief Minister Murad Ali Shah and IGP Kaleem Imam have also taken notice of the incident and ordered for thorough investigation.

On December 3, Hyderabad DIG Naeem Sheikh and Commissioner Abbas Baloch too visited Wahi Pandhi and met with a number of local people.

On December 4, a medical board led by Dr Qurban Ali Shah exhumed the body in the presence of a judicial magistrate and civil judge of Johi, Agha Imran Pathan, at Lali Lak graveyard near Karo Kot mountains in Khirthar range, 30 kilometres from Wahi Pandhi town. The doctors examined the body, and took samples of the viscera for chemical examination.

Dr Shah, the additional medical superintendent of Liaquat Medical University Hospital Hyderabad, told the media that the final report would be released after results of the chemical examination became available. He said that the team had found that some heavy objects had hit the girl and severely damaged her face and neck area. A DNA test would be carried out to ascertain her identity, he added.

Other members of the board were: Dr Banidar, the police surgeon of Hyderabad; Dr Waheed Ahmed, an associate professor of forensics at LUMHS; Dr Abdul Aziz Shaikh and Dr Nusrat Zia.

Meanwhile, Ali Bakhsh Rind, the victim’s father, recorded his statement before the medical board and the judge and reiterated that his daughter’s death was accidental. He said she had been injured in a landslide.

Some of the local people said Maulvi Mumtaz Leghari, who led the funeral prayers had told some people in Wahi Pandhi about the ‘mysterious’ death of a girl and speculated a jirga ordained killing.

Sardar Mir Bibrag Khan Rind, son of Sardar Yar Mohammad Khan told TNS that the Pakistan Peoples Party MNA Rafiq Jamali had hatched a conspiracy to use some local journalists against him and his family.

Rind said if a jirga was held to decide an honour killing case, the accused and the aggrieved parties and a group of impartial people were in attendance.

Also, he said, funeral prayers were not offered for people declared karo and kari by a jirga.

Bibrag Rind said that he had not been in the area on the day the incident was reported to have occurred.

Dadu girl's alleged stoning: Accident or murder?