1996-09-26 00:00:00

Two women set themselves afire Sept. 11 to protest delays in the execution of an army major convicted of murdering their brothers and seven other villagers at Goth Tando Bahawal in 1992.

Zaibunissa and Hakimzadi are sisters of Manthar and Bhadar Chandio, two of the nine persons killed allegedly by a team of law enforcement agents headed by Maj. Arshad Jamal. The two women were hospitalized in critical condition.

Ten villagers were kidnapped from the village on the outskirts of Hyderabad, 1,405 kilometers southwest of Islamabad, on the night of June 5, 1992, then taken to the bank of the Indus river at Jamshoro and shot. Only one escaped.

At the time of the murders, Pakistan Television reported that agents had killed nine terrorists and alleged Indian agents and had captured a large quantity of arms and ammunition, which were shown on television.

A military court later tried Arshad and sentenced him to death. A mercy petition was rejected by Pakistan President Farooq Ahmad Leghari, but, Arshad´s execution has been stayed by the Supreme Court pending an appeal.

The family of the Chandio brothers warned authorities of the planned self-immolation on Aug. 14, Pakistan Day, if Arshad was not executed. However, the threat was not carried out.

On Sept. 11, the death anniversary of Quaid-e-Azam Mohammad Ali Jinnah, the founder of Pakistan, the two sisters, their mother and several children went to the Suppression of Terrorist Activities Court, where the appeal is pending.

After dousing themselves with gasoline and torching themselves, the sisters were taken to a Karachi hospital. Police have charged them with attempted suicide.

The women´s mother is being held by police, and no one is allowed to see her. Her husband has threatened to immolate himself if he is not allowed to see his wife.


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