Alleged criminals forced to walk on fire to prove innocent in Balochistan
An alleged robber walking on fire in Balochistan's Sanjavi tehsil of district Ziarat: Photo grabbed from a video on social media

Two people walk on fire to prove innocent in Sanjavi Balochistan

Hanif Tareen : 

Two alleged robbers were forced to walk on fire in Balochistan’s Sanjavi area to prove their innocence. The video of the two alleged robbers went viral on social media, initiating a debate about this old brutal custom. “We are investigating into the incident”, Hassan Anwar, Assistant Commissioner Sanjavi said. The two men were accused of stealing plates of solar energy from a tube well.

This illegal phenomenon continues unchecked in various parts of Balochistan. Such incidents were reported from Dera Bugti, Kohlu, Naseerabad and other parts of the province. However, this was for the first time that such an incident was reported from Sanjavi tehsil of district Ziarat.

In the video, two men walk one by one on fire

In the video, two men walk over the ashes of fire one by one to prove their innocence. Levies sources said Muhammad Raza Khan and Gul Zaman were accused of robbery in the area. A tribal jirga directed the two alleged robbers to walk over the ashes of the fire to prove their innocence the other day, Levies sources mentioned. However, they said no action was taken against the members of tribal jirga involved in forcing the alleged robbers to walk on fire.

“This is an inhuman act”, Habib Tahir Advocate, the Chief of Human Rights Commission of Pakistan (HRCP) Balochistan Chapter said. He said this act is paramount to challenging the writ of the State. A case should be registered against the responsible people for forcing the alleged robbers to walk on fire, Habib Tahir demanded.

This custom is called Charbeli

This custom is called Charbeli, which forces the alleged criminals to walk over burning coal in order to prove their innocence. This custom supersedes the criminal justice system and the writ of the State in various parts of Balochistan, Pakistan’s least developed province.

Both walked over ashes of the fire and were overwhelmed by the tribesmen for proving their innocence in a robbery case. A crowd of people could be seen witnessing walking on fire in the Sara Khaizai area of Sanjavi tehsil of district Ziarat. A large number of friends and relatives also witnessed the two accused walking on the fire.

In the video footage, the two accused successfully walk on fire and people celebrate their move for proving innocence in the case. Rights groups have repeatedly expressed serious concern about this brutal custom. Nevertheless, such incidents have gone unnoticed in various parts of Balochistan.

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Quetta Voice is an English Daily covering all unfolding political, economic and social issues relating to Balochistan, Pakistan's largest province in terms of area. QV's main focus is on stories related to education, promotion of quality education and publishing reports about out of school children in the province. QV has also a vigilant eye on health, climate change and other key sectors.