Pakistani woman tortured to death over bride-exchange row in Sindh province

An undated photo of Waziran, who was found tortured and killed on June 28 near a village in Pakistan's Southern Sindh province. (Photo courtesy: Irfan Burfat)
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Updated 05 July 2020

Pakistani woman tortured to death over bride-exchange row in Sindh province

  • Deceased’s husband and brother-in-law are in police custody
  • Rural tradition of ‘Watta Satta’ usually translates into ‘a bride for a bride’

KARACHI: At least two men have been arrested in South Pakistan after a woman in her 20’s was found tortured to death along a main highway last week following a row with her husband’s family involving the tribal tradition of ‘watta satta’ or bride exchange, a senior police official told Arab News on Saturday.
The tradition is a form of marriage involving an arranged, reciprocal exchange of spouses between two families, where a pair usually consisting of a brother and sister are married from one family to another pair from another family-- usually a bride for a bride.
A first information report (FIR) was lodged against the woman’s husband, his brother and another relative by the deceased’s father on the insistence of police.
“We arrested the woman’s husband and his brother who confessed to torturing her but said she was at her father’s home [at the time of death]. Due to this and the suspicious behavior of the father, we are also investigating him,” Jamshoro’s senior superintendent of police, Amjad Sheikh, told Arab News.
The deceased, identified as Waziran Chachar, was married five years ago with the understanding that her brother would eventually be married to her husband’s sister, a custom built on a common promise in Pakistan’s rural areas. 
“When Waziran’s father demanded their girl for his son, the family refused,” a local police officer, Rasool Bux Shaikh, told Arab News.
Following the refusal, a row broke out between the families, and two weeks ago Waziran’s father brought her to his home, threatening divorce until a jirga-- an assembly of local elders and leaders-- convinced him to let her go back to her husband’s home.
Waziran’s body was found in the early hours of the morning on June 28 along the Indus highway near the village of Wada Chhachar in Sindh where she lived, Shaikh said.
The custom of Watta Satta, which translates to ‘give and take,’ has long been criticized by human rights organizations due to its underlying threat of retaliation and violence meted out to women as punishments in case of family rows.
According to the results of an initial post-mortem report, Waziran was killed by a blunt weapon. The police are waiting on more conclusive results.
“This can be a car, stone or any other object which is not sharp. We are investigating the case, and digital forensics (of mobile phones) and a detailed post-mortem report will determine who has killed the woman and how,” SSP Sheikh said.


Pakistan to resume middle school classes tomorrow despite rising COVID-19 infections

Updated 22 September 2020

Pakistan to resume middle school classes tomorrow despite rising COVID-19 infections

  • Dozens of educational institutions around the country were closed this week over violation of virus standard operating proce­dures and detection of new cases
  • Earlier this month, government announced it would allow the “phased” reopening of all educational institutions from September 15

ISLAMABAD: The National Command and Operation Center (NCOC) on Tuesday said middle schools across the country would resume regular classes as scheduled from tomorrow, September 23, Radio Pakistan reported, despite coronavirus cases being detected in educational institutes around the country this past week.
Schools were closed in March when the government enforced a nationwide lockdown to contain the spread of coronavirus. Authorities started lifting strict curbs in May and last month allowed almost all businesses and the tourism sector to reopen.
Earlier this month, the Pakistani government announced it would be allowing the “phased” reopening of all educational institutions from September 15.
All higher educational institutions including universities, intermediate and professional colleges, reopened from September 15, while grades six through eighth grade were to reopen on September 23 and primary schools would resume classes from September 30.
Following the decision of the NCOC to resume middle school classes from Wednesday, Punjab, Balochistan and Khyber Pakhtunkhwa officially announced that classes would start tomorrow. However, Sindh Education Minister Saeed Ghani said schools in the province would reopen on September 28.
Dozens of educational institutions around the country were closed this week over violation of standard operating proce­dures (SOPs) and detection of Covid-19 cases among students, teachers and other staff.
But Federal Education Minister Shafqat Mahmood said on Saturday that a hasty decision to close down schools again would “destroy education.”
“6 months closure deeply affected the students. Decision to open was taken with great care,” he wrote on Twitter. ” Any hasty decision to close will destroy education.”

The education minister of Punjab province, Murad Raas, said on Twitter:
“All Public & Private Schools will be allowed classes 6 through 8 starting September 23rd. It is imperative for everyone to follow SOPs ... All of us have to play our part to make this successful InshAllah.”