ISLAMABAD: As you read this on Friday, the international 16 Days of Activism Against Gender Violence campaign will be kicking off. On Thursday, a court in Islamabad sentenced a man for committing the most egregious form of gender violence, and that too against his own child.
A trial court awarded life imprisonment to a man who repeatedly raped his 20-year-old daughter for four years.
The accused was a policeman who contested the rape charge by claiming he should only be charged with fornication. The case itself was also fraught with twists and turns as the prosecution eventually managed to get a conviction after the girl informed the court that she reached a compromise with her father and did not wish to pursue the case further.
District and Sessions Judge Sohail Ikram awarded life imprisonment to former Islamabad Police Constable Dilpazir, on charges of raping his daughter for four years after the prosecution successfully established charges against him.
The court also fined him Rs100,000. The victim*, who was a schoolteacher, lodged a rape case against Dilpazir at the Koral Police Station on July 29, 2015. In the FIR, she alleged that her father also used to rape her and beat her.
The girl informed the police that she sought help from her relatives, but no one believed her. She added that the school principal advised her to report her ordeal to the police.
Subsequently, she approached the Koral police for registration of the case and also told them that her father may attempt to kill her for speaking out. Upon the registration of the case, the police arrested Dilpazir and later submitted a charge sheet before the court.
In September 2015, the court framed charges against the constable, who pleaded not guilty.
Soon after the indictment, however, the complainant informed the court that she wanted to withdraw the case because she had reached a compromise with her father.
At this point, Special Public Prosecutor Aamir Nadeem Tabish contended before the court that the accused was facing a rape charge which is a non-compoundable offence and an out-of-court settlement should not affect the court’s proceedings.
Tabish argued that the crime was not against an individual but against society, therefore, the state is the complainant in this case, and not the victim, who merely provided information. Consequently, the victim recorded a statement against her father.
Later, the prosecution produced 11 witnesses to prove the case against Dilpazir.
During arguments, counsel for Dilpazir claimed that it was not the case of rape but “fornication”, claiming that the daughter was a “consensual participant”.
To this, Tabish noted that it could not be considered fornication as Dilpazir always extended threats of dire consequences to the girl whenever she tried resisted him.
Tabish later told The Express Tribune that irrefutable evidence of the heinous crime came in the form of a compact disc (CD) with a 10-minute long recording of an assault.
He said that the police seized the CD after Dilpazir allegedly confessed to his involvement and revealed that he also made mobile-phone video of the assaults.
*name withheld to protect identity
Published in The Express Tribune, November 25th, 2016.