MULTAN: In the past ten days Rajanpur Police have recovered five women during different raids in Rajanpur. Police officials recently recovered a kidnapped 32-year-old woman with her one-and-a-half-year-old child from Rajanpur. Police officials said that they conducted a raid on a house in the district after receiving an anonymous phone call.
The woman, Shazia*, was handcuffed and had been tortured. Speaking to The Express Tribune, the mother of two children said that about a year ago she had gone to General Hospital in Lahore with her husband for his treatment. “A lady named Shareefan met me and said that a Pir Baba named Amil could help cure any disease,” Shazia said. Shazia told reporters that the Pir lived in Sadiqabad and she went with the nurse to visit him. “I wanted an amulet that could cure my husband’s abdominal pain,” she said.
Shazia said that the nurse had actually taken her to the Pir to sell her. “My younger son was with me, he was only five-months-old at the time,” she said. Shazia told the police that the Amil gave her something to eat and she fainted. “When I woke up, I found myself tied with seventeen other women in a forest. They told me that I had been sold for Rs50,000 and that we were being transported,” Shazia said.
Shazia told the police that she was later separated from the group and sold to a family for Rs160,000 in Kashmore. “The family kept me locked up in a room for several days but then they sold me again to someone in Rajanpur,” she said, adding that the family told her she was being sold for marriage.
“A man named Shah Gul bought me for Rs2.5m and married me to his son Mukhtar,” she said, adding “I kept telling them that I was already married and that I had children but they wouldn’t listen.” “They treated me worse than an animal, they tied me up, whipped me and raped me,” she said.
Shazia said that she had tried to escape several times but was caught and then her captors finally broke her legs. “They made sure I couldn’t walk anymore,” she said.
Shazia said that during the floods she managed to escape because her captor’s house was flooded and she was moved outside.
“I hid with a family in Rajanpur and there were so many displaced people that I thought they wouldn’t be able to find me again. I was wrong,” she said.
Shazia said that she heard reports that her captor Mukhtar had threatened the owner of the house with murder if they did not hand her over. “Mukhtar then took me back to the forest and handcuffed me. He said that we would slice my son to pieces if I tried to escape again,” she said.
Shazia said that many women had been kidnapped and sold several times over in this manner. “There is an open auction for women in shelters near the forest at night. Dozens of abducted women are sold off,” she said.
Multan Station House Officer (SHO) Bakht Ali said that he had arrested Shah Gul and was interrogating him about the whereabouts of the other women as well as the location of Mukhtar. Shah Gul said “I do not know about all the others but this girl is my property. I paid for her in Rajanpur and she belongs to me,” he said, adding “If the police take her away they should compensate my loss.”
In the past ten days Rajanpur Police have recovered five women during different raids. The women had all been sold from different parts of the country in midnight auctions. Police had handed over Shazia and her son to a Dar-ul-Amaan.
*The victims name has been changed to protect her identity.
Published in The Express Tribune, January 5th, 2011.