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Last Updated: Wednesday, 26 April 2006, 15:13 GMT 16:13 UK
'Honour motive' probe over attack

By Aamer Ahmed Khan
BBC News, Karachi, Pakistan

Armed guard stands beside her bed
Armed guards have been posted to her bedside
Police in Karachi say a 14-year-old girl who survived being shot five times may have been the victim of an attempted "honour killing".

Noor Jehan was allegedly shot by relatives after being declared guilty of adultery under an ancient tribal tradition in southern Pakistan.

She was left in a roadside ditch but she managed to crawl her way to help.

Hundreds of women are killed every year in Pakistan in the name of "honour", usually related to marriages.

In recent years Pakistan's President Pervez Musharraf has defended his government's record on violence against women and says he has done more for women's empowerment than any previous administration.

But human rights groups in Pakistan say the president's claims are not backed by adequate legislation.

Police say they are anxious to speak to Noor's parents who have not appeared at her bedside or inquired about their missing daughter.

No sign of parents

An officer investigating the case told the BBC News website: "My experience tells me that they were aware of what was going on."

Noor was shot in both legs, the left arm and the stomach.

Doctors treating her at the Jinnah hospital in Karachi say her condition is stable.

Noor in hospital
They threw me into a ditch and left thinking I was dead
Noor Jehan

The attack happened nearly three weeks ago but Noor, whose life was in the balance for two weeks, has only recently been able to talk to police about the incident.

She has not been visited by any members of her family.

Noor Jehan told the BBC News website her cousins had tried to kill her after her father had refused to let her be married to one of them.

Looking terrified despite the three armed guards posted outside her hospital room, Noor said her family used to work for a landowner in her native village of Rato Dero in upper Sindh, 300km (187 miles) from Karachi.

She said one of her cousins had asked for her hand in marriage. On being refused, he claimed she had illicit relations with the landowner's son.

Fled her native village

Fearing the worst, Noor's family moved to a neighbouring village. Meanwhile, the landowner's son was killed.

Noor's father contacted a friend he knew in Karachi who advised them to come and stay with him.

She said: "He told my cousins that we were going to stay with him because soon as we entered Karachi, our car was stopped by my cousins.

"They beat up my parents and took me away with them in their car."

Noor said she was driven to the suburb of Gadap and shot five times.

She said: "They threw me into a ditch and left thinking I was dead. But I crawled out of the ditch and managed to alert the guard of a nearby house."

Police say they are looking for her parents and the two cousins.

Noor, who can only speak Sindhi, fears she has been abandoned by her family and has no idea what the future holds for her.



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