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Italian PM writes letter to Imran Khan, seeks justice for Sana Cheema

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Local police in Gujrat district had claimed that Sana’s father Ghulam Mustafa Cheema had admitted strangulating his daughter by putting a piece of cloth in her mouth while her brother Adnan Cheema overpowered the victim to help his father committing the deed. The accused later denied any admission of guilt in front of police investigators.

ROME, Italy: Prime Minister of Italy Giuseppe Conte has written a letter to Prime Minister Imran Khan seeking immediate investigation of Sana Cheema’s murder and bringing the culprits to justice after a local court in Pakistan acquitted all suspects including her father and brother last week.

A copy of the Italian PM’s letter to PM Khan obtained by Naya Daur roughly states that PM Conte urged his Pakistani counterpart to immediately investigate the killing of Sana Cheema from Italy whose brutal murder had shaken the whole nation last year.

Local police in Gujrat district had claimed that Sana’s father Ghulam Mustafa Cheema had admitted strangulating his daughter by putting a piece of cloth in her mouth while her brother Adnan Cheema overpowered the victim to help his father committing the deed. The accused later denied any admission of guilt in front of police investigators.

Sana Cheema was later buried in the local graveyard while her family claimed she died of natural causes while the journalist Anna Della Moretta of Daily Giornale di Brescia broke the story that Sana was actually murdered by her own family apparently in the name of honour.

Sana’s father on the right. (Picture courtesy: ilmessaggero.it)

Anna and her other colleagues, Andrea Cittadini, Emanuele Galesi and editior-in-chief Nunzia Vallini, had told Daily Times that they felt hopeful after quick investigation in the case by the Pakistani police and forensic experts. They also believed that Pakistani media did a commendable job by extensively reporting on the case.

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Anna also said that the sources of their story about Sana’s killing also came from the second generation of Italian-Pakistanis without exposing any further details of her source. However, the last week’s acquittal of all accused including the prime suspects have left many of Sana’s friends and sympathisers in disarray.

Sana’s autopsy report revealed that she had been strangled to death with a neck bone dislocated, suggesting a violent death. Moreover, the forensic report also revealed disgorgement as they had found pieces of green chilli in her throat. The report also suggested against the reasons that her family stated for death.

Friends and fellow Pakistani as well as Italians had organised protest demonstrations in Sana’s local town of Brescia over the killing of 26 years old Italian-Pakistani. The protestors’ demands led to the immediate action by Pakistan authorities who unearthed Sana’s body and conducted forensic analysis, which led to the suspicion of foul play in her death.

Sana’s autopsy report revealed that she had been strangled to death with a neck bone dislocated, suggesting a violent death. Moreover, the forensic report also revealed disgorgement as they had found pieces of green chilli in her throat. The report also suggested against the reasons that her family stated for death.

Sana Cheema protest

Women of the Pakistani community in an event in memory of Sana. (Picture courtsey: ilgiorno.it)

Brescia, a town in Lombardy region of Italy, has the highest concentration of Pakistanis anywhere in Italy. Estimates by the community put the number of Pakistanis in the town to around 130,000.

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The revelation of foul play in a forensic report about Cheema’s death had reignited the debate in Italy as well as across Europe about honour killings and suppression of women among Pakistani diaspora communities. A few years ago, another local of the town, Hina Saleem, was killed by her father ‘for her Western lifestyle’.

The activists of Pakistani origin in Brescia have also told Naya Daur that it was sad that such violent and intolerant people become face of the country by committing such heinous crimes while undermining the efforts of those progressive Pakistanis who were doing commendable work in the fields of science, technology and social development across the world.

PM Conte further wrote in his letter that the Italian public opinion, after the absolution of the defendants, awaits for culprits to be brought to justice by adding that his wishes are expressed in the complete respect of the prerogatives and independence of the Pakistani judiciary system.

Naya Daur has also learnt through the sources in Brescia that Italy’s government might be preparing a separate murder case against 11 suspects while being in touch with Pakistani authorities. It was also learnt that Italian Ambassador in Pakistan might meet Pakistani Prosecutor in days to come for deliberation on the case and decide next course of action.

Pakistan embassy spokesperson in Rome could not be reached for the comment on the situation.

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