On August 20, in Mianwali’s Muslim Colony, Sidra Niazi, a doctor, was severely injured when her father shot her. She succumbed to her injuries a few days later.
Sidra was posted at the Maternal and Child Health Centre Hospital in the Muslim Bazaar. The incident occurred on a Sunday, and she was at home when she had a bitter argument with her father, Abdul Samad. As the argument escalated, her father opened fire at her. Sidra was hit in the lower part of her right leg and on the top of her left ear. She was critically injured and was immediately taken to the District Headquarters Hospital in Mianwali by her family. Due to her complications, doctors transferred her to Rawalpindi the same day.
She spent ten days in critical condition in the Intensive Care Unit of DHQ Hospital, Rawalpindi and passed away on August 30.
The police have filed a case against Abdul Samad on the complaint of his son and the brother of Dr Sidra, Muhammad Abdul Wahab Khan. Section 324 of the Pakistan Penal Code has been applied in the FIR against the accused. However, the police have not been able to arrest the accused yet.
According to the FIR, Dr Sidra wanted to move from home to a hostel, leading to a heated argument with her father. In response, the accused fired at her with a .30-bore pistol.
It’s worth mentioning that Section 324 is invoked when an attack is committed with the intention to murder someone.
A close relative of Dr Sidra reveals on the condition of anonymity that the actual reason for the dispute was not the hostel shift of the deceased but rather her refusal to marry her uncle’s son.
He claims that the accused wanted to marry Dr Sidra off to his brother’s son against her will; therefore, the FIR of this incident should include Section 311, which is killing in the name of ‘honour.’ He further says that such a murder is not pardonable.
However, Inspector Javed Iqbal, the Investigation Officer at Saddar Police Station, disagrees with this assertion. He states that the FIR has been registered based on the complainant’s statement that the motive for the incident was Dr Sidra’s intention to reside in a hostel. In no way does this fall under the category of murder for ‘honour’. Therefore, the police have not added Section 311 to this case.
In Mianwali District, there is a consensus among the public that justice should be served to Dr Sidra Niazi. However, there are concerns that the killer may be pardoned under the Diyat Ordinance.
In Pakistan, according to Qisas and Death Ordinance, 1990, Qisas refers to revenge for crime, i.e., the death penalty for murder. But under Diyat, the crime can be forgiven if the plaintiff accepts the offender’s pardon in return for some money.
Many murderers benefit from this law, and if the complainant and the accused are close relatives, the possibilities under Diyat become even more favourable for the accused.
District Bar Association Member Athar Yar Awan explains that in Dr Sidra’s case, only charges of intentional murder have been included. The case has also been filed under her brother’s complaint. Therefore, this murder can be forgiven at any time.
They say that if charges of murder on the “grounds of honour” were included in this case, and if the complainant were the state and the state also nominated the witnesses, then it would have been almost impossible for the murderer to escape punishment.
Social leader Dr Tariq Masood Khan says that the case of Dr Sidra Niazi should be registered under the state’s complaint. The plaintiff is the son of the accused; he can forgive the father at any time. The culprit must be punished.
He says that under the Diyat law, reconciliation is possible even in cases of Section 302. In this case, section 311 of the Pakistan Penal Code should also be added to section 302 so that even if the plaintiff pardons, the punishment of the accused remains intact.
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But the police are firm on their position. The investigation officer of Thana Sadar says that the police are bound to register a case based on the statement of the complainant. Therefore, in this case, a lawsuit was filed against the father of the deceased Dr Sidra Niazi, under her brother’s complaint because he became the plaintiff. The police cannot become plaintiffs in the presence of close blood relatives.
The Pakistan Doctors Association also demands that the case should be registered under the state’s complaint. Dr Hameed Khan, the Chairman of the Youth Forum of the Doctors Association, says that the Supreme Court should take notice of Dr Sidra’s murder.
He says ten days have passed, and the killer has not been arrested. He says this is a failure on the part of the Mianwali District Police, and if the accused is not arrested within a week, doctors across the country will protest.
Published on 5 Sep 2023