Having not received a positive reply from the Indian or the Pakistan government, Noel Hodges, brother of Shabnam Gul Khan aka Shirley Hodges, has demanded the intervention of the ministry of external affairs (MEA) to bring the two daughters of Shabnam from Karachi.
Shabnam, 38, who belonged to a Christian family of Maninagar in Ahmedabad, was shot dead by her husband Mohammad Gul Khan on December 4 at his house in Murgi Khana area of Karachi. Though the local police claimed that Khan had been arrested and sent to jail, Noel, a resident of Hariom complex near Krishnabag in Maninagar, is still clueless about the well-being of his nieces, Chandani (13) and Sanjana (9).
“I fear that both my nieces will meet the same fate if they are not saved. The Indian government must do something to bring them back to India,” said Noel, whose earlier pleas to save his sister had fallen on deaf ears.
‘Please ask them to apply for visa with the required documents’ was the response received by Denzil Hodges, father of Shabnam, to an email to the Indian Consulate in Islamabad in November 2011. He had urged the consulate to help Shabnam, who had been coerced in Karachi by her husband.
“Even human rights activists in Pakistan made their best efforts to meet the girls in Karachi. However, Khan’s first wife and her sons never allowed them to see them. We know that the girls are also being tortured, so much so that they are not even given warm clothes during winter or proper food,” said Noel.
“It’s high time that MEA steps in. It is the responsibility of the Indian government to protect the girls. I have written an email to MEA and am waiting for their answer,” he added.