LAHORE: Kahna police took bribes from the accused in a rape case and is putting pressure on the family of the victim, who was also burnt with acid, to compromise so her attackers can go free, the family told a press conference on Tuesday.
Flanked on one side by Asma Jahangir, the president of the Supreme Court Bar Association and noted rights activist, the girl’s parents and uncle said that the three accused had kidnapped 17-year-old *Shazia from their house in Gajju Matah, in Kahna police jurisdiction on January 16.
They allegedly held her for three days during which she was raped several times and burnt with acid thrown on her face and body.
Before releasing her, she was forced to put her thumb print to a nikah nama, said the family, who are mostly kiln workers.
*Sana Bibi, the mother of the victim, said that the police had arrested the three accused after Shazia was released, but released them after they were paid off.
She said the Kahna police station house office was pushing the family to compromise with the accused. She alleged that the police and the accused had not let her take Shazia to the hospital for a week after the incident, apparently so vital evidence of the crime would be lost.
The uncle of the victim said that the SHO and investigation officer, Sub Inspector Zafarullah, had repeatedly summoned them to the police station and humiliated them in front of the accused.
Jahangir said that violence against women was becoming more common because of the attitude of the police and the government. “Police always favour the accused in cases of violence against women and force them to compromise. This encourages the accused. They know they can get away with it and others see that too,” she said.
She said the government did not take such incidents as seriously as it should. “Legislation alone is not enough. Implementing the law is the real service that the people need,” she said.
Shazia, recording her statement before a special judicial magistrate at the Model Town courts on January 21, said that the accused had worked at the same brick kiln as she and her parents.
She said on January 15, the day before she was abducted, the accused had made derogatory comments about her and she had responded with an insult of her own. She said that the accused had thrown acid on her when she attempted to resist one rape attempt.
She said his accomplices held her down while she was raped. Before letting her go, the men took her to a lawyer’s office where they made her put her thumb print on a document. Then one of them said that she could go back to her parents because she was no longer a threat to them, Shazia said.
*Names have been changed to protect the victim’s identity.
Published in The Express Tribune, February 16th, 2011.
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