Three children, Sarang Pahnwar (7), Farina Panhwar (3) and Rafia Pahnwar (2) have been on a daily token hunger strike for more than 50 days in front of Karachi press club demanding the recovery of their mother, Ferzana Chandio, who was abducted on April 9, 2011.
About 40 armed men attacked their house killing their father at the scene and injuring their uncle including three other members of the family. The children come to the press club everyday with their grandfather and cry for their mother’s return.
The Sindh police and government have not shown the least concern for the recovery their mother or taken action against the perpetrators.
Ali Raza, a resident of village Dhotra Panhwar, District Dadu, Sindh province, was married to Khalida Perveen Chandio, a resident of village Muhammad Ibrahim Chandio District Dadu on her own free will and going for court marriage before the judicial magistrate May 7, 2007 in Hyderabad district. After the court marriage the parents of Khalida Chandio, the bride, filed an abduction case of their daughter against Ali Raza, the husband, at Khadabad police station, Dadu.
Ali Raza approached the Sindh provincial high court at Karachi, and filed a petition, numbering D-1649 of 2007, pleading that the couple would be killed in the name of honour as both of them are from different tribes and the Chandio tribe has made it an issue of honour as girl was from that tribe. The bride recorded a statement in the High Court saying that she wanted to live with Ali Raza. The court allowed the father and her uncle to have a separate meeting with the bride on the court premises. Khalida, the bride, refused to go with her parents. The court also ordered the police to withdraw the case of abduction against Ali and make the FIR ‘C’ class.
The parents of the bride called a Jirga, which was headed by Sardar Ahmed Chandio, the head of the Chandio tribe. The Jirga was held in 2007 and sanctioned honour killing of the couple by declaring them Karo and Kari (black couple). The tribe rejected the marriage and decided that Ali Raza or Pahnwar tribe should hand over three girls and an amount in the sum of Rs. one million, as a fine for breaching the tribal tradition. The Pahnwar tribe instead offered Rs 100,000 and one girl in response to the demand but the tribal chief refused the offer and declared that until the bride is returned or three girls provided in her place were not handed over to Chandio tribe the fight will continue with Pahnwars.
The Panhwar tribe including the father mother and other close relatives repeatedly approached the father and other relatives of Khalida Perveen for reconciliation according to local tradition but the Chandio tribe refused to consider this.
After a lapse of four years on April 9, 2011 over 40 armed persons (16 persons were recognized) attacked the village Khadabad and broke into the house of the Brother-in-Law of Ali, Sarang, killing two persons at the scene and injuring three. Among the killed persons was the father of three children, Sarang, who did not have any involvement in the dispute, but the wife, Ferzana Pahnwar was abducted and since then her whereabouts are unknown. The brother of Sarang, Ashraf Pahnwar was also killed along with his brother.
The police filed a case of murder and abduction of a woman but only five attackers have been arrested; two of them were released.
The chieftain of the Chandio tribe, Sardar Ahmed Chandio, is using his influence, being the local leader of the ruling PPP and the Dadu district police is not interested in arresting all the accused persons and recovering Ferzana Pahnwar, the mother of the three children.
On July 21, 2011, Ali Raza, filed an application in the Sindh high court, (petition number S- 513/2011) for the recovery of Ferzana. The police, on behalf of the Senior Superintendent of Police (SSP), submitted before that court that the police had searched 13 different places in several districts of the province but could not recover her.
This makes one wonder about the cultural heritage that many in Pakistan are so proud of.