Pakistan police disinter bodies of women buried alive

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Islamabad, Sep 2 (UNI) Police exhumed the bodies of two women allegedly buried alive in the name of family honour in Pakistan's conservative southwestern Balochistan province, officials said.

''Police opened up the grave pointed out by four arrested, including the real brother of two women, last night and found their bodies,'' local media cited a senior police official Ghulam Shabir Shiekh as saying.

Sources yesterday said police opened up graves on indications given by two of the arrested men -- Umaid Ali and Ghous Bakhsh Umrani -- but did not find any body. Later the two spoke about a spot in Gopang Leri area, where the two bodies were found after opening up a grave in the presence of a magistrate and a team of female doctors.

The victims were identified as Izzat Khatoon and Mai Siyani, who were buried alive in Babakot area, 450 km southeast of Quetta, early last month to marry men of their own choosing.

According to an initial medical report, the skull of one of the women was found broken and there were bullet wounds on the other body.

''The bodies were buried without shroud (Kafan) in one grave,'' the police official said, adding it appeared to be a case of honour killing.

''I am hopeful that other bodies would also be recovered,'' said Shabir, who is heading the special investigation team. ''Soon the mystery of the killing will be resolved and other people involved in it will be arrested.'' There are conflicting reports about the number of victims. Some sources said three women were killed, while others said two were killed and one had managed to escape.

''We cannot say anything about the number of victims till the completion of digging work,'' police sources said.

A police team also visited Usta Mohammad town, from where the women were stated to have been taken away by armed men in a government vehicle.

According to the investigation, two girls and a woman had come to the town in the first week of July and stayed at a hotel near the house of Umaid Ali. The next day some armed men came to the hotel in a government-owned vehicle and whisked them away. Sources said Umaid Ali had told police during the interrogation that a influential tribal was involved in the kidnapping.

The Balochistan minister and deputy parliamentary leader of the PPP, Mir Sadiq Umrani, said two women, and not five, had been murdered.

He told a news conference at his assembly chamber that Ata Mohammad Umrani, father of Izzat Khatoon, had named Umaid Ali and Ghous Bakhsh in a police report as his daughter's killers.

The PPP leader said his family had nothing to do with the incident, accusing his rivals of propaganda.

He said a team of senior police officials were investigating the matter and the federal government had also sent its team.

The Balochistan High Court yesterday granted time to police and the Human Rights Commission to submit their reports relating to the murders.

The hearing was adjourned till September 22.

The Chief Justice, had on July 16, taken suo motu notice of a newspaper report published on July 14 regarding the July 13 killings.

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