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Unjust legal system of Pakistan fails to ensure justice in murder of 12 years old Christian girl

London: March 17, 2017. (PCP) On 23rd January 2017 the dead body of Tania Mariyam aged 12 years was found dead in Upper Chenab Canal after she went missing from school (click here).

Sadly for the family, despite what they believe is clear evidence that Tania was murdered including alleged signs of poisoning and rape, local police refused to register a murder investigation and registered her death as a suicide.

The post- mortem examination undertaken by the police which deemed the death a suicide, did not involve any attempt to check for toxins, or rape and has been rejected as false by the family and many human rights NGO's.

Family members visibly saw the shalwar (trousers) of their daughter had been ripped apart prior to the autopsy, however later police asserted that the Shalwar was ripped during the post-mortem examination. This act alone raises serious concerns about the actions of Sambrial Police.

With the help of a solicitor Taniyas Brother Johnson Gill has submitted several applications for the exhumation of Taniyas corpse with no joy, now six weeks later the family feels any hope of revealing the murder through an autopsy is gone. The twisted and complex and very intentional court process delay that family has had to suffer is easy to ridicule in Pakistan. But sadly the pain it creates for families pursuing justice is immense.

Initially when they applied to Sialkot Magistrates court the family discovered to their chagrin that they had applied to the wrong court. For all intents and purposes the court they applied to was in the jurisdiction of the local police investigating the murder, however on the day of the first hearing Magistrate Shagufta Sabbir rejected the case and advised the family that as Tania's body had been buried in another district, the family should be applying to a magistrate responsible for the Canntt policing district of Sialkot.

Advocate Abdul Qaddus Ghouria is adamant he went through correct procedure and should have been advised on any conflict prior to submission and believes that this was simply a ruse to delay the process. The family have for the last 8 days pursued their case with a magistrate responsible for the Cantt Police district and a hearing took place on 7th March.

Since the beginning of their application for exhumation of Tania's body the family has had to suffer the ignominy of petty delays, including but not exclusively the following; absent judges, absent stenographers, absent court readers and now this court change.

On 7th March, Magistrate Syed Afzal Mahmood instructed Judicial Magistrate Choudhry Aitzaaz Anjum to finalize a decision for Tania's exhumation within 10 days. Meaning the family should now be given a comprehensive answer on whether they can exhume Tania's corpse on Friday. However, considering the six weeks that have passed since her burial the family and BPCA hold little hope that any traceable evidence of use of toxins will exist. Even then in hope for justice the family will pursue an autopsy despite the obvious pain of disturbing their dead child's body.

Nadeem Gill, father of Tania has advised BPCA that unless they get a positive decision for exhumation of the body of Tania, the family would like BPCA's help to organise a mass protest calling for a review of Tania's case, policing practice and a creaking judicial system. BPCA has agreed to pay for coaches for Pakistani Christians to join the family in their struggle for justice.

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