Mukhtar Bibi, 26, was married to one Ghulam Mustafa Mugheri, a resident of Korangi Industrial area, Karachi, in 2005, as his second wife. She was divorced by her first husband for not being able to bear children.
Ms. Bibi’s father, Haji Mashooq Chandio, was in those days in jail in Saudi Arabia on charges of smuggling drugs. He was released in September 2005 and returned to Pakistan. At that time he was totally broke and started black mailing his son-in-law.
Mr. Mugheri somehow managed to pay the initial financial demands but being a worker at a tea company he could not continue to pay the huge amounts of money.
Mr Chandio, enlisted the help of his tribal chief, Sardar Ahmed Chandio, and with the connivance of his henchmen on January 7, 2006, abducted Mr. Mugheri’s first wife, Gul Khatoon, 32; his 60 year old mother, Hameeda allies Subhana Umri; his 9 year-old niece Zameera Umri and his 8 year old son, from his first wife, Master Menthar.
They have since been in the private custody of Sardar Chandio and police have been powerless to recover them from this powerful person. In a police report filed by Mr Mugheri, Haji Mashooq sold Ms. Gul Khatoon, Mr. Mugheri’s first wife, to the tribal leader of the Chandio tribe, Sardar Ahmed Chandio. Whilst in detention Ms. Khatoon has been continuously raped and has born two children as a result.
Finding no way out of his financial problems, on August 23, 2009,Mashooq Chandio, the father-in-law, went to Mr. Mugheri’s house in Mehran Town, Korangi along with six persons, and kidnapped his second wife, Ms Mukhtar Bibi, at gun point. They were riding in a black-coloured Alto car and a yellow cab. After some days, Mugheri went to his father-in-law’s house in Jamshoro district, along with a copy of the Holy Quran and his 9-day-old son, and requested his father-in-law to hand over his wife but he refused.
On Sept 27, 2009, Mugheri filed a petition in the Sindh High Court (SHC) for the recovery of his wife, following which the honorable court ordered police to raid his father-in-law’s house and recover his wife. On October 5, 2009, the High Court ordered the Nazir, the court search officer, to recover Mukhtar Bibi and search the places of tribal chief of Chandio tribe. Before the court and police officials reach the place the Mukhtar Bibi was shifted to another location. The police learned that the victim, Mukhtar Bibi is alive and with Sardar Ahmed Chandio, the tribal chief, who was currently in Saudi Arabia. After that court did not take action.
Then on October 14, the tribal chief, Sardar Chandio, held a Jirga, an illegal court and declared that both, Mr. Mugheri and his second wife, Ms. Mukhtar Bibi, should be murdered in the name of honour as they are Karo and Kari. Before the holding of the Jirga, his father-in-law, Mr. Mashooq Chandio and the henchmen of Sardar Chandio on October 12, tried to abduct Mr. Mugheri from the premises of Sindh High Court Karachi, but the police saved him and gave him shelter in one of the rooms of the court.
Mr. Mugheri tried several times to take help from the police and the court and at last was successful in getting the attention of the Deputy Inspector of Police (DIG), Karo-Kari cell and recorded his statement under section 154 CrPc. The DIG sent a team under Ms. Soobia, the head of the Karo Kai cell, recently made by Sindh government. The team went to recover Ms. Mukhtar Bibi but came under attack by the henchmen of the tribal chief and two police officials were abducted and made hostages. After several hours the police officials were released on the assurance that they will make another attempt to rescue Bibi.
Subsequently the police have arrested two of the alleged abductors out of 12 persons but have not been able to recover the three women and two minors.
The Sindh High Court is the highest judicial institution of the province of Sindh but because of its weakness to implement the rule of law the powerful groups, particularly feudal and tribal leaders enjoy impunity through their use of power.
In 2004, the former chief justice of the Sindh High Court had declared Jirga judicial system as illegal, ultra virus and unconstitutional but feudal and tribal lords know the writ of the high court. With regard to this of abduction and illegal detention the High Court has proved itself the weakest institution for the recovery of the five persons being held.