An alleged rape survivor, whose claims of rape had led to a woman being paraded naked in Haripur, has denied that she is pregnant or was ever assaulted.
Sadia*, 24, who had alleged Shaheen’s* son Karim* of rape, said the incident was the result of a mere ‘misunderstanding’.
Shaheen, 45, was stripped and paraded in the streets of Neelor Bala village by Sadia’s former husband Shabbir* with the “blessings” of a village jirga that found Karim “guilty”. On Tuesday, Shaheen recorded a statement before a judicial magistrate court, confirming the incident.
Sadia, who was divorced on June 7 also on the jirga’s orders, moved to her parents’ home in the neighbouring village of Banda Mughlan. She was not given any of her entitlements under family laws and her husband refused to let their three-year-old daughter live with a woman of ‘doubtful’ character.
Sadia told DIG Hazara Naeem Khan that her husband worked at a Lahore-based private firm and visited home intermittently. “On June 6, Shabbir came home and hit me for no reason. He accused me of being morally corrupt, and called the village jirga to decide whether to divorce me or not,” she said.
Her father and maternal uncle had finalised her divorce. The papers, she said, do not give her the right to seek judicial remedy or custody of her minor daughter as she had “sought divorce herself”.
Sadia said that Shabbir’s brothers had misguided him that she had illicit relations with the two villagers. She said that Karim and Arshad* had tried to harass her a few months ago but she did not share the incident with her family for fear of a backlash. However, her former husband’s brothers somehow learnt of the incident and exaggerated it.
DIG Khan assured Sadia that she will be provided complete security if she decided to move a court against her former husband and local human rights organisations also assured her of legal support. Policemen have also been deployed around the homes of Sadia and Shaheen.
Meanwhile, Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa Chief Minister Ameer Haider Khan Hoti has ordered an inquiry into the incident and asked for an immediate report from Hazara commissioner and DIG Khan.
*Names have been changed to protect privacy
Published in The Express Tribune, June 16th, 2011.