KARACHI: A district court sentenced on Thursday a fake faith healer (pir) to 14 years in prison after convicting him of raping a teenage girl two years ago.
District East additional sessions judge Inam Ali Kalhoro found the accused, Abdul Haq, guilty of sexually assaulting a 16-year-old girl while pretending to passing on her his self-claimed spiritual powers.
The prosecution story starts with the victim's father, S*, who followed the fake pir and his methods. In the first quarter of 2014, S fell ill. He became so disturbed that he started believing that there were paranormal influences on him and that he should visit the pir. That was how he was introduced to Haq, who told him that some evil spirits have taken possession and that he must get rid of them otherwise S and his family would suffer.
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Believing the fake pir, S allowed Haq to visit his house and start the 'exorcism' process. One day, Haq told S that the exorcism will take time and that too if his treatment continues uninterrupted. Haq told S to let his daughter learn the spiritual methodology so that she can cure him herself.
The family agreed to this proposal, not realising Haq's evil intentions. The fake pir feigned to be passing on his sacred powers to the girl but actually abused her sexually. He repeated the offence several times but the girl stayed quiet as Haq had taken some nude photos of her and was blackmailing her.
According to the teenage girl, the pir also tried to convince her that the sexual acts were part of the method with which her father would get rid of the evil spirits. He also told her that the process will backfire if she spoke to anyone about it. The girl narrated her ordeal to her mother, who complained to her husband. The family filed a case with the Gulistan-e-Jauhar police.
During the course of trial which lasted for a-year-and-a-half, Haq pleaded innocence, claiming that he did nothing wrong and the allegations levelled against him were false. But the evidence, which included a medical report confirming the sexual act, and the testimony of the victim proved that he was guilty.
As he pronounced the verdict, the judge observed that the prosecution proved its charges against the accused beyond any shadow of doubt as the testimonies of the witnesses remained unshakeable. The fake pir was also ordered to pay a fine of Rs50,000. If he fails to pay, he will undergo an additional six months imprisonment.
*Names withheld to protect identities
Published in The Express Tribune, January 1st, 2016.
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