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For all those too ignorant and ill-informed to comprehend the evil of Sharia law, I bring you the case of Shumaila, a 19-year-old Pakistani woman brutally raped by her cousin on May 26, 2017.
“I could not raise an alarm as Ahmed was holding a gun. But the panchayat refused to accept my statement and declared that I wilfully slept with him,” Shumaila told the police.
The day following her brutal rape at gunpoint she reported the crime to the local panchayat, a tribal court. The panchayat has no legal authority and operates outside the official justice system in remote areas of the country, but its decrees are followed by tradition as if they carried the full weight of the law.
Village elders (panchayat) in Rajanpur, a small town in Pakistan’s Punjab province, denied the young woman's claim that she was raped at gunpoint by Khalil Ahmed, her cousin, and sentenced her to be stoned to death, instead.
The girl, however, managed to escape and sought refuge at the home of Ghulam Abbas, her uncle.
Muhammad Shafee, the alleged rapist's father, is a member of the panchayat, a fact that surely had nothing to do with the decision to stone the young woman to death.
Welcome to Islam, the religion of peace, tolerance and defenders of women's rights.
Four men, including Muhammad Shafee, the father of the alleged rapist, forced the Panchayat to pronounce Shumaila a Kari (an adultress) on Thursday. The girl’s father was forced to accept the decision.
The young woman fled to her uncle's home and, with his support, approached local police the following day in a desperate bid to stay alive. Thankfully police took her in, provided protection and a safe house and issued arrest warrants for the alleged rapist and the entire panchayat.
“We have registered an FIR against the panchayat members and will take them into custody for declaring her kaari (liable to death either by stoning or else),” Hasnain said.
The SHO of Fazilpur Police Station, Qaisar Hasnain, said Shumaila’s father said in a statement that he was forced to accept the panchayat’s decision.
“Since the panchayat declared her liabale to be killed he had to accept the decision as it was the tradition of his village,” he said.
The police has sent Shumaila to a government safe house for women in Rajanpur.
“Honour” killings and death sentences are usually sanctioned through the panchayat system in Pakistani villages, but they have no legal standing.
While arrest warrants were issued for Khaleel Ahmed, the alleged rapist, his father Muhammad Shafee and two other men who made the pronouncement of death, like all good cowards they fled and are now in hiding.
So much for the courage of their convictions.