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Pakistani American Wajiha Swati Murdered by Ex-Husband in Rawalpindi Over Property Dispute

Pakistani American Wajiha Swati Murdered by Ex-Husband in Rawalpindi Over Property Dispute

  • The 27-year-old confessed to killing his former wife and then driving the body to Khyber Pakhtunkhwa province and burying it there.

The former husband of Pakistani American Wajiha Swati, 47, has confessed to killing her over a property dispute. Swati was reportedly missing since she arrived in Pakistan in October. According to news reports in The Washington Post and Pakistani media, Swati’s husband, Rizwan Habib, 29, was arrested on suspicion of murder last week, The Post reported, adding that he confessed to the murder on Dec. 25, after four days of interrogation. 

He admitted to killing his ex-wife the days she arrived in Rawalpindi in October. Her body was found in the district of Lakki Marwat in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa province, where he had buried his ex-wife in a room of his servant’s house in the Peezo area. On Dec. 26, her body was brought to Rawalpindi “for further investigation,” reports in The Post and Pakistani media said. Police told media that they believe Habib picked Swati at the airport, abducted her and killed her with the help of his father and another man, both of whom were also arrested.

Pakistan Today reported that Habib was intending to flee to Poland and seek asylum. Citing police, the Pakistan Today report said that Habib’s father had said that it would cost only Rs 50,000 to kill Swati.

After killing Swati, Habib then hid the body in the car and took it to a close relative’s house in Hangu, police said, according to Pakistan Today. The reports also quoted Rawalpindi City Police Officer (CPO) Sajid Kiani saying in a Dec. 26 press conference that a complaint was initially filed about Swati’s disappearance and during the subsequent investigation U.S. Embassy officials contacted police to assist in finding her.

On the other hand, sources within Swati’s family have confirmed that her body will be sent to the United States. According to the sources, Wajiha’s children have refused to bury their mother’s body in Pakistan, due to which the US embassy officials are making arrangements to send the body to New York.

While Swati’s murder, enraged and terrified the nation, it is sadly not an isolated incident. On July 20, just one day before Eid-ul-Adha, Noor Mukadam, the 27-year-old daughter of an ex-Pakistani diplomat Shaukat Mukadam, was murdered in Islamabad by U.S. citizen Zahir Zamir Jaffer, a close acquaintance of Noor, at his residence. 

The murder created outrage on Twitter, with hashtags like #justiceforwomen, revealing the haunting picture of the state’s stance on violence against women. 

Bangladeshi writer and activist Taslima Nasreen tweeted: “Wajiha Swati, the Pakistani woman, was killed by Rizwan Habib, her ex-husband. Women get killed mostly by their husbands, ex-husbands, lovers, parents, brothers, uncles and other close relatives. Women are more unsafe at home than outside.”

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Twitter user Gone Girl wrote: “Raise your voice for #justiceforwomen. Demand justice for all victims of domestic abuse. Demand justice for #noormukadam #WajihaSwati #Quratulain You sure don’t want to be the next hashtag. Raise your voice NOW before someone we love is the new hashtag.”

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