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July 21, 2019

Justice remains elusive for gang-rape victim


July 21, 2019

ISLAMABAD: Rabia Abbasi, 30, mother of three, has been raped by a notorious gang in broad daylight but the supposedly reformed Punjab Police have failed to arrest the influential culprits even after five days of the incident.

The incident occurred on July 12, but the poor victim had to run from pillar to post to just get her complaint registered. After the social media outcry finally police registered the FIR on July 14. Even then a senior police officer of the DPO rank had to personally intervene for the filing of the case.

Ironically, despite the court orders a hospital administration refused to conduct medical examination of the victim in absence of police. The victim’s family even approached the medical superintendent of the hospital to get her medical examination but he refused to do so. Finally, when the police official reached the hospital on Saturday evening it was closed and the victim family was told to come on Monday (three days after the incident).

Talking to The News, Rabia Abbasi said she goes to nearby park for walk every day in the evening and never confronted any untoward incident. However, the Friday evening was the worst for her in her life which has changed her and her family’s life.

“While I was on my way back from the park a car approached me and three people rushed towards me. They pointed gun at me and pushed me to the car. They threatened me not to scream otherwise they will kill me. They took me to a Dera where four other people were waiting. All of them were drunk. They tore apart my dress and raped me one by one”

Rabia’s husband Suleman Abbasi while talking to The News said, normally his wife come back from walk at around 5:45 pm. But after an hour when she did not reach home he checked with the relatives if she is there. After getting a negative response from his relatives he got worried.

Her mobile was switched on but she was not picking his call. He then went to City Police station (C Division) at around 8 pm and informed them about the whole situation that she is missing and her mobile is switched on but she is not attending his call. He said he requested the police to trace her through her mobile location. The police constable however, told him that he should wait for her maybe she is at some relatives’ house.

“I came back home because my three kids were alone there. But during this period I was continuously trying to call her on her mobile. I even went out again to look for her. At around 2:30 am they threw her outside our home. She was almost naked as her dress was tore apart. When I found her in such bad situation even my kids got frightened. I took her to the police station”, informed Suleman (Rabia’s husband).

“While we were on our way to the police station a mobile van of Elite Force encountered us and I informed them about the whole incident. They asked us to go to City Police Station Division C. The police Moharrar told us the incident occurred in City Police Station Division B’s jurisdiction therefore they should go there. When we reached the City Police Station Division B, the officials told us that they should go to City Police Station Division A. When we reached at City Police Station Division A at around 4:30 am, the Moharrar (Nafees) told us that he cannot register the FIR until SHO mark the application”, informed the victim’s husband.

After getting no response from the police they reached the hospital for her medical examination. However, the administration refused to conduct the medical examination without the police.

According to Suleman Abbasi at around 10 am he then approached a lawyer to get magistrate’s orders for his wife’s medical examination. The magistrate issued the orders at 1 pm on Saturday and they reached the hospital in half an hour. Even after getting the magistrate’s orders the hospital administration refused to examine her without the presence of police. He then approached the MS of hospital and he too responded the same that without police presence they cannot conduct her medical examination.

Finally, the hospital administration called the police at 3:30 pm. However, the police official ASI Shakil reached the hospital at 5:30 pm on Saturday. “When he reached the hospital was closed and the administration asked us to come on Monday. Can you imagine my wife was raped on Friday and due to police and hospital administration’s negligence we were told to get her examined on Monday (4 days after the incident),” he commented.

The police sources however, said the victim family has already filed an FIR in Police Station Khanpur. The FIR was registered by Rabia Abbasi against a resident of Khanpur who threatened her of severe consequences on telephone. The police officials believe victim family is well aware of the legal process. However, they said they are not saying this incident is not genuine. The police officials also admitted that the accused are notorious gangsters of the city. The police are investigating the issue and bring her justice.

Umar Farooq Salamat DPO Rahimyar Khan while talking to The News said as per his information the victim family approached the police station on July 14 and that very day FIR was registered. They approached the magistrate first and get his orders for medical examination. The doctors have obtained each and every sample including swabs.

“I am personally supervising this case and I have talked to the victim family and ensured them that they would be given justice. I have ordered the DSP to arrest the accused. The police held several raids but the accused have obtained pre-arrest bail”, informed DPO Rahimyar Khan.

When the DPO was told about the victim family’s claims that according to them they approached the police first but after getting no response they obtained magistrate’s orders for medical checkup, he said he has already ordered an inquiry into this matter and if any police official is found responsible he will personally take action against such officials.

Fauzia Waqar former Chairperson of the Punjab Commission on Status of Women (PCSW) while talking to The News said the commission has been actively pursuing such cases across the Punjab.

“When I was chairperson of the commission we set up a helpline across the province. Any such victim who contacted us we actively pursued their cases. Within 24 hours after receiving the call from such victims the commission used to approach the concerned DPO and ensured that Police is not siding with the accused. The commission provides the victims legal advice and ensure that the institutions are answerable to the commission. In this case, I am not sure whether the victim family has contacted the commission or not,” commented Fauzia Waqar. She said the commission followed the Qandeel Baloch case, and hundreds of other such cases. However, the commission is inactive now as she was removed from her post on May 21 this year and since then no one has been appointed on this post by this government. She said recently Chief Justice of Pakistan has mentioned that Gender Based Violence Court (GBVC) should be established in every district. The GBVCs are the need of the hour and every provincial government should establish these court on district level. The provincial government should also activate the Punjab Women Helpline and create awareness about the women rights. This will help reducing the gender violence, commented Fauzia Waqar.