Three Baloch girls recovered amid HRCP concerns over abduction last month

Two of them, aged 10 & 14, have been married off, their families quoted the Sukkur police as telling them

Surat Bibi FazalKARACHI: Three girls, aged less than 15 years, were recovered in Sukkur on Monday, more than a month after they were kidnapped near their home in the Azizabad area of Karachi.

The nikah of two of the three girls had been solemnised, the police were quoted as telling the victims’ families in the evening. On receiving the information, the families originally hailing from Balochistan, accompanied by Yusuf Bizenjo, who has been pursuing the case, left for Sukkur later in the day.

Earlier on Monday, the Human Rights Commission of Pakistan (HRCP) in a meeting at its office expressed concern over the issue and urged the authorities concerned to take concrete measures for their early recovery.

Sharing details of the case at the meeting, Sindh HRCP vice chairman Asad Iqbal Butt and senior activist Abdul Hayee said the three girls — Surat, 14, Sabeena, 10, and Nagina, 7 — were kidnapped in Azizabad’s Bhangoria Goth on Sept 7.

“All the three of them used to fetch water from a facility a kilometre from their home,” explained Mr Butt. “Two men, Saddam Mirza and Saleem Jatoi, befriended them and used to speak to them whenever they went to the facility. On Sept 7 evening, the girls went to a bookshop and didn’t return home,” he added. Mr Bizenjo said he received a call from the Sukkur police informing him that all the three girls had been found. He said he was also told that two of them, aged 10 and 14, had been married off.

He said he along with the families of the victims was leaving for Sukkur. A case (FIR No 261/2015) was registered at the Azizabad police station.

According to the family, two suspects picked up by the police informed them that the girls were taken to Larkana, taken to Shikarpur and finally some 10 kilometres away to Khanpur taluka.

The HRCP vice chairman said: “The local police were of no help as they were feared going after the kidnappers to Jami Kooba, known as the katcha area, where the girls have been reportedly kept. We are told it is the area where dacoits operate. Everyone knows but no one wants to help.”

Abdul Hayee said this was not the first case where girls abducted from Karachi remained untraceable for weeks. Referring to a previous case, he said the daughter of a man Abdul Razzaq Sarki had been kidnapped in Karachi some eight years back. Although the case made it to the Supreme Court of Pakistan, the whereabouts of the girl remained unknown, he added.

The family of the three girls belonged to Awaran district’s tehsil, Jaahu, and relocated to Karachi some 20 years ago, the HRCP activists said.

The family also met a former member of the national assembly, Ibrahim Jatoi, seeking his help, said Parhial Marri, an HRCP spokesperson from Shikarpur. “The ex-MNA assured the family of help and has been making efforts for her release,” the spokesperson added.

Mr Butt added that despite repeated assurances from many quarters, no one helped much. He said that a policeman in Shikarpur asked the family to arrange Rs1 million ransom and when the family couldn’t arrange the money the police withdrew their help.

“We also contacted Rangers personnel, but they said they do not operate in those areas.

“We have written letters to the chief minister, IG police and a DIG but haven’t received any response so far. What needs to be noticed is that this is not the first case and neither it is going to be the last if the authorities choose to remain unresponsive,” the Sindh HRCP vice chairman added.

However, hours after the HRCP meeting, Azizabad police investigation officer Ghulam Ali Siyal said the police got information that the girls had been recovered from Sukkur.

“We are on our way to ascertain the authenticity of the claim and will act accordingly,” he said.

Published in Dawn, October 20th, 2015


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