DERA GHAZI KHAN: The medical report of an eight-year-old gang rape victim is being contested by the child’s family, who claim that doctor’s have been paid off by the rapist’s family to downplay the incident.
On Saturday, Kotla Sakhani resident Zia’s daughter Bushra Bibi* was kidnapped while she was playing outside. The family searched for the girl all day and implicated their neighbour Sohail and his friends of abducting the child. Later in the day, residents of the village found Bushra in a back alley where the child had been brutally assaulted and abandoned. Neighbour’s transported the child to the Sarwarwali DHQ Hospital and called her mother, Laila Bibi.
Doctors at the hospital initially confirmed that Bushra had been gang raped and the child is in critical condition. “We are waiting on medical reports but the child has been brutally assaulted and we are doing our best to save her,” said Dr Mubashar on Saturday evening.
Thana Draham police said that Sohail had been arrested along with two of his accomplices as one man had escaped the scene. Bushra’s family told reporters on Sunday that the rapist’s family had been pressurising the hospital staff to fabricate the medical report. “Sohail’s father has openly boasted that he will have his son freed from jail in two days,” said the girl’s uncle Zayed Khan, adding that the child was still unconscious. “They have been pressurizing the doctors to downplay the incident and not to implicate more than one person in the rape even though the doctors were initially sure that this was a gang rape,” he said.
Draham Police said that they already had Sohail in custody. “We can’t take any action against the men until the medical report is released,” said inspector Javed, adding that police had launched an investigation into the incident.
Meanwhile, Bushra is still in the hospital and her family has blamed the doctors and other hospital staff of backing the accused by making contrary claims in the medical report.
Police officials said that a case number 44/11 was registered in the Draham Police Station and that the girl had been sent to the Sarwar Wali basic health unit (BHU) for a second medical checkup. Police officials said that the family was contesting the medical report and that they were ordering a second report to confirm the findings. Zayed Khan said that the doctors and other hospital officials were backing Sohail and his accomplices because of their influence in the area. “They are trying to minimise the charges against him and make it look like she wasn’t raped,” he said. Khan said that Sohail’s father had boasted to several people that he had given a lot of money and would be able to free all of his relatives.
The girl’s family also said that the police were confining the case to only one accused and were trying to protect the others implicated in the case.
“They are doing this because the child’s father is in Saudi Arabia and no one is here to pursue the case on her behalf,” said her mother Laila Bibi, adding that the police were trying to pressure them into dropping the charges.
The family has appealed to the chief minister and the chief justice of Pakistan to take notice of the incident.
When contacted, DPO Tassaduq Hayat Awan told reporters that he had taken stern notice of the incident. Awan said that he had ordered the Draham SHO to immediately arrest the accused. “The case will be pursued diligently and no one will be released without a full investigation,” the DPO said.
*The names of the victim and her family have been changed.
Published in The Express Tribune, February 7th, 2011.
Correction: February 7, 2011
Due to an error of omission, the note stating that the names of the victim and her family had been changed was missed out in the print edition. The note has been reinstated online.