She was lucky: the paedophile that picked her up panicked when she started screaming.
An 11-year-old girl’s shrieking and crying for help saved her from attempted rape at the hands of a family acquaintance, a 22-year-old single man living in the same street as her.
Aslam*, a government employee in a civic body and a resident of a suburban township in the outskirts of the city, panicked when the girl, trapped inside his guestroom, started crying loudly as he moved to rape her.
He let her go because “the guestroom was right on the street and the girl’s cries could be heard from outside as it was daytime”, said Shehzad Town Police ASI Ishtiaq Shah, who was investigating the case.
The girl ran back to her mother, breathless and visibly shaken from the ordeal she went through. Amid tears of horror, the third-grader narrated the incident to her mother. Her father reported the incident to the Shehzad Town police on Tuesday, and a case of attempted rape was registered against Aslam.
Meanwhile, Aslam, anticipating the consequences of his act, fled from his house where he was living with his brother. However, he had not gotten far when the police found him in Shakrial, in the city outskirts.
Aslam told the police that he picked up the girl in the street in front of his house while she was on her way to purchase milk from a nearby market.
In the complaint lodged with the police, the girl’s father said, “My wife sent her to fetch milk from the nearby market, but when she returned pale-faced my wife started worrying.”
Aslam had gotten her to enter the house by asking her to bring back some milk for him as well and that she should come inside to take the money from him. Knowing Aslam, the girl went inside with him, which is when he took her to the guestroom.
The Shehzad town police produced the girl for an external medical checkup, which found no physical signs of assault. However, the police obtained DNA samples of both the victim and the accused and sent them for tests to confirm if the girl was raped. The suspect has already been booked for attempting to sexually assault the girl.
The incident could have ended in much worse fashion, because not long ago, a girl of similar age was found dead in drain in the industrial area of the city. The rapist was caught.
*Name changed to protect identity
Published in The Express Tribune, February 15th, 2012.