Shroud lifts partially from serial rapist mystery

Express May 14, 2010

SIALKOT: A man named Razzaq was identified as the rapist by a bed-ridden, seven-year-old child 17 days after her brutal assault.

Senior police officials of the Daska city police removed the recuperating child from her hospital bed and paraded her around town on a stretcher asking her to identify the outhouse where she was taken after her abduction. An earlier media report stated that the doctors at Mayo Hospital had advised the police squad against patrolling the city with the child, still believed to be in a vulnerable state.

The rape survivor had been battling death for the past 16 days and her health deteriorated drastically immediately after she identified the location where she was detained. Local medical workers had to be rushed in to provide medical aid. Senior police officials of Daska city police felt compelled to conduct raids with the convalescing child after the chief minister issued a 72-hour deadline to arrest the culprits and warned that police officials may face action if they failed to do so.

The Sialkot district police officer (DPO) Waqar Ahmad Chohan stated in a press conference that the young child successfully identified a small house in the congested Mullah Islampura locality on Wednesday, owned by the accused Abdul Razzaq Sandhu. The DPO denied that the child had fallen ill during the identification parade and stated that she was in good health and mentally sound when she recognised the outhouse. The child was also able to describe her attackers for a police sketch.

These sketches were distributed amongst various investigation teams. Razzaq was subsequently arrested and interrogated and confessed to assaulting one child. DPO Waqar stated that immediately after the interrogation, Razzaq was further identified by the child during a police line-up. Our reporter Rana Tanveer stated that the DPO appeared before the Lahore High Court and assured the court that the culprit was finally behind bars. He submitted a detailed report in the court of Khawaja Muhammed Sharif who had taken suo moto notice of recurrent media cases of sexual violence emerging from the district.

The DPO stated that another survivor however failed to recognise Razzaq as her assaulter. Waqar stated that he would get the accused and the child examined for a DNA match to ensure that the child was not refusing to accuse him under any kind of pressure. The DPO’s request to dispose of the suo moto notice on the case was however denied by the chief justice who maintained that he wanted to monitor the progress of the interrogation. The hearing was adjourned until May 27.

The suo moto notice was taken after seven minor girls and boys were abducted and raped within the span of a month and a half. Two of the children died from the assault while the others are still receiving treatment and surgeries as extensive as vaginal reconstructions. Special police teams are conducting various raids and pursuing leads provided by the accused in his statement to senior investigation officers.

Published in the Express Tribune, May 14, 2010.