Darul-e-Amman, Quetta turns into sub jail

Quetta: Wearing red kameez, black Shalwar and Dupatta, face of Shazia, an inhabitant of Darul-Amman, Quetta, was half covered. She looked angry when she uttered a few words, without having an eye contact. She looked an aggressive and traumatized person.

Shazia was married against her will and was brought to Quetta from Peshawar where she started a new life with her husband but due to ill treatment of in-laws, she was forced to leave her husband’s house and eventually her journey ended up in Darul Amman (shelter home) four years ago.

“See my life. I am living such an unbearable life. Whatever I am using here, it’s given in charity by others,” She told Truth Tracker in an aggressive tone. “Do I deserve this life?” she asked. Shazia was fiddling with her slippers and continuously shaking legs during conversation.

After three years of divorce, she re-married to another person as a resident of Darul Amman. Initially, she had a happy life with her husband, but when he found that she cannot become a mother because of uterus problem, he divorced her. Eventually, Darul Amman was her destination again.

Though, she was psychologically disturbed and having some sort of trauma, Daraul Amman’s was unable to understand her condition, “She is not behaving normally just to escape chores,” said Asiya Khan, the superintendent of Darul Amman of Social Welfare Department, Brewery Road, Quetta.

Khan says that other residents of Darul Amman complain that Shazia does not recite Quran and also abuses all roommates.  Truth Tracker observed that Shazia was admonished for behaving like children, “Why don’t you recite Quran,” scolded Khan in front of many guests present in her office.

Fact of the matter is the staff of Darul Amman is in dire need of awareness and training to handle the inhabitants with care. The problem with the management of Darul Amman is they don’t know how to deal with the women and girls who are in trauma and obviously it makes things worse. According to Ms Musarrat Jabeen, Director General (DG) of Social Welfare Department of Balochistan, all the staff are trained and there is no need of any awareness right now and that the staff have the Masters’ degree in social work and know how to deal with the victims.

When Shazia was leaving the room, her face banged into the door vigorously, but surprisingly, she did not express any kind of pain that indicates that that pain and misery are no problem for her any more.

One of the roommates told that Shazia behaves abnormal, and seems devoid of feeling and expressions. According to a psychologist Memoona Haris, Shazia lost her facial expressions merely because her feelings and emotions do not exist anymore due to the trauma, she has been facing for many years. She needs a psychological therapy to regain herself. And secondly the way she lives, is itself painful for a person who has been deprived of all kind of exposure to outer world.

Unfortunately, neither there is a psychologist available for women to facilitate the disturbed victims of the shelter home, nor any doctor. The position of doctor is lying vacant, as per Ms. Asiya’s statement; because Health Ministry did not fill that vacancy. As per SOPs of Darul Amman, it is mandatory to provide medical facility to the residents but on the ground, there is no medical facility provided.

“All expenses of medical treatment of residents are met through donation collected for this purpose,” said Asiya Khan, “We do not have allocation of funds for baby delivery cases, and such matters are also solved through donations.”

Ironically, DG Social Welfare Jabeen Durrani contradicts the claims about fund and facilities and says that the department has the funds for delivery cases of residents which can be utilized on the court’s order.

Darul Amman, which literally means a place of peace, remains devoid of peace, friendly atmosphere and health facilities, which is really painful for the inhabitants. People who already suffered torture and humiliation at the hand of family and were forced to leave their homes face the same situation when they come to get shelter at Darul Amman. “The only thing, different from home is that now they are living behind the bars as the big gate is locked from both sides with an alert male security guard,” said Habib Tahir, a lawyer and rights activist. Darul Amman is a kind of sub-jail where the basic human rights are denied, he added.

On one hand, the society faces an acute shortage of Darul Amman or shelters homes and on the other, the existing homes don’t meet standards.

If Darul Aman had provided all the necessary facilities like, proper diet, health facilities, legal aid, none of the inhabitants would have escaped from there. The DG Durrani (DG) denies the escape of seventeen inhabitants including five children and 12 women who escaped from Darul Amman in July 2011. The incident was reported by the media. Some other mysterious incidents also took place in the Darul Amman like a girl found hanged in a washroom.

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