Islamabad : To show solidarity with victims in Usman Mirza case, National Commission for Human Rights (NCHR) on Thursday visited the Sessions Court Islamabad and requested permission to participate in the case hearing. NCHR Chairperson Rabiya Javeri Agha, Member Minorities Manzoor Masih, and their legal team applied to the court to be part of the proceedings of the case.
The Commission met with the Prosecution team and closely discussed the case in question. The hearing was adjourned due to the non-availability of the witnesses/victims. Last year in July, a video surfaced on social media in which the main accused in the case, Usman Mirza, could be seen violently thrashing and harassing the young couple. Within a few hours of the video going viral, the Islamabad police took Mirza into custody and registered a first information report (FIR) in the case.
Later on, seven people, including Usman Mirza, were charged in the Islamabad couple harassment case. Islamabad High Court rejected the bail appeals of the three accused and directed the authorities to complete Usman Mirza's trial case in two months. On January 11, the case took a dramatic turn when both witnesses resiled from their previous statements.
“Despite the Prime Minister taking cognizance of this particular case, the victims have still retracted their statements. We have seen such retractions happen time and again. In Pakistan, rape case convictions stand at only 3%. According to research by Legal Aid Authority, nearly 60% of rape victims change their statements after registration of FIR.” said NCHR Chairperson Rabiya Javeri Agha while talking to the media.
Explaining the reasons behind becoming part of the proceedings at this stage, she said that: “the Commission wants to bring forward and highlight systemic issues that are faced by vulnerable groups. The NCHR is mandated to look into such gross and flagrant violations of human rights. We are the voice of the vulnerable and stand with them. NCHR is committed to follow up on this case and ensure that the state continues to protect and safeguard human rights,” Rabiya added.