Jun 1, 2018 (DESPARDES/PKONWEB) — Two police officials were nabbed on Thursday for getting Rs600,000 bribe to alter the forensic report of Sana Cheema’s death — the Pakistani-Italian woman was strangled to death by relatives for honor last month in Gujrat district of Punjab province.
The Anti-Corruption Establishment (ACE) arrested a police assistant sub-inspector (ASI) and a Punjab Forensic Science Agency (PFSA) official for getting Rs600,000 bribe to change the forensic report of the Sana Cheema case.
The murder case had gained government’s attention after reports of the honor killing surfaced in an Italian daily. Subsequently, Cheema’s body was exhumed and samples were taken for forensic examination.
ACE Director Farid Ahmad told reporters that it was a conspiracy to hide the assassination.
The victim’s family had claimed that 26-year-old Sana Cheema had died of natural causes and was buried without an autopsy being conducted.
But reports in Italian media and a social media campaign by her close friends demanded an investigation into her sudden death.
News of Cheema’s death was first reported in local Italian newspaper, Giornale di Brescia, and members of Pakistani community in Brescia, Italy, had held a demonstration over the weekend then, demanding to know the truth about her death.
They claimed that Ms Cheema had wanted to marry someone in Italy, against her family’s wishes. The reports further alleged that Ms Cheema’s parents had been forcing her to marry someone in the family in the days leading up to her murder.
According to Italian media, Cheema had wanted to marry a man from Brescia who, like her, was a second-generation immigrant from Pakistan with Italian citizenship.
At least 280 such murders were recorded by the independent Human Rights Commission of Pakistan from October 2016 to June last year — a figure believed to be underestimated and incomplete, according to AFP.
In October, social media celebrity Qandeel Baloch was slain by her brother and and his cousin for ‘honor’ in Multan.
In 2016, new laws came into force aimed at stemming “honor killings”, but scores of young women in the country are still being murdered by relatives for bringing shame on their family.
“There has been no change,” Benazir Jatoi, a lawyer who works for the independent Aurat Foundation, a women’s rights watchdog, told AFP.
Love can get you killed in Pakistan, where hundreds of women are murdered annually for “honor” – and new legislation put in place two years ago has done very little to change that, experts say.