Two-time world boxing champion Amir Khan and his wife Faryal Makhdoom met the family of Zohra Shah in Islamabad recently (2nd October 2020), inviting them to be guests of honour at a major boxing event this weekend.
In a case which shocked the world in June, eight-year-old Zohra was tortured and brutally murdered. Amir and Faryal have been supporting the family since, covering their basic living costs and guiding them towards earning a sustainable income.
With the Amir Khan Foundation recently launching a child protection fund to help safeguard youngsters in Pakistan, Amir said,
“It was important for Faryal and I to see justice served. We didn’t want the family to feel pressured to accept an out-of-court financial settlement, which so often happens in Pakistan. Fortunately, the family want justice for Zohra as much as us, and their commitment to our cause is hugely important.”
The Foundation is currently holding talks with stakeholders across Pakistan and internationally in an effort to find long-term solutions.
“We all feel ashamed by Pakistan’s record on the treatment of children and it is critical that we fight this evil once and for all,” added Amir.
Barrister Taimur Malik, Founder of Courting The Law and Partner at Clyde & Co, confirmed that trial proceedings in the Shah case will commence on October 10th at the Model Court in Rawalpindi.
“It is encouraging to have seen a timely police investigation into this matter,” he said. “Despite their best efforts, the suspects in this case have repeatedly been refused bail and remain detained at Adiala jail.”
Acting on behalf of the Amir Khan Foundation, Taimur stressed that the Senate Committee on Human Rights, the National Commission on Child Rights and the Ministry of Human Rights are actively pursuing steps to improve Pakistan’s legislative and enforcement framework. Advocates Raza-ur-Rehman Asad and Javeria Rehman have been coordinating and supporting the prosecution on behalf of the deceased’s family.
During Friday’s meeting with Zohra’s family, Amir and Faryal welcomed her grandparents Fazal Shah and Kaneez Bibi and her mother Samina Bibi. Her paternal uncle Tariq Shah filled in for Zohra’s father who was unable to join owing to ill health. The family are set to attend tomorrow’s event – hosted by the Amir Khan Academy – which will create history as Pakistan’s biggest boxing event to date.
“I hope their attendance raises awareness around the case and reminds those in positions of power that they can make a difference,” said Amir. “The world is waiting on a verdict and we want justice to be served.”