MULTAN: A gang rape victim was paraded in the village streets because her husband allegedly ‘stared’ at the daughter of one of the rapists.
According to police officials, Mian Channu Chak34/15-L resident Asiya, 35, was working with her family in the cotton fields when seven armed men gang raped her. “She kept screaming for help but no one came. I was too scared to do anything because I felt they would do the same to me,” said her sister-in-law Safia. Safia told police officials that the accused began firing in the air to scare off villagers.
“Many of us tried to rescue her but the men kept firing,” Muhammad and Younus, who were also working in the fields, told police officials. Asiya told the police that the men stripped her and paraded her around the village. They stopped at each of their own houses and raped me there before taking me to my own house where my husband couldn’t do anything because they threatened to kill him,” she said.
In the meantime, residents of the area united and informed the police and the criminals ran away before the police arrived. Nadeem, an eyewitness, told police that Asiya’s husband Abdul Kareem was accused of staring at one of the daughters of the rapist.
“The rapists said that he used to ogle at one of their girls and that the only suitable punishment was for the entire village to ogle his wife,” said an eyewitness Bashir, adding that the rapists paraded Asiya at gun point.
Villagers told police officials that the accused had been threatening retribution on Abdul Kareem for a week. Ashraf’s daughter was going to college a week ago and she passed by Kareem’s shop in the village.
“Apparently Kareem and his staff ogled her and called out names and she told her father. That is what started it,” Bashir added.
Abdul Kareeem told police officials that the charges levelled against him of harassing the rapist’s daughter were completely unfounded. “The issue is over land. They wanted me to sell my property to them and I refused,” he added.
Mian Channu Station House Officer (SHO) Mehar Manzoor Siyaal told The Express Tribune that the police had lodged an FIR under Sections 365B/376, 337 H2/148 and 149 and none of the clauses allowed bail, so criminals would not be released.
“We have been raiding different areas to arrest the criminals. There were seven armed men and four of them gang raped the victim. The other three helped hold her down,” Siyaal said. He said that police had already arrested one of the alleged accused Amjad but the remaining six were at large.
“The accused have locked up their houses and these houses are all empty. They planned their escape in advance but we will track them down,” he said.
The victim, Asiya, has asked the Supreme Court of Pakistan and the chief minister for justice and has sought police protection for herself, her husband and her five children.
Police officials said that Asia’s DNA samples had been sent to the lab for testing and police were awaiting the results before moving the court.
All names have been changed to protect the identity of the victim
Published in The Express Tribune, November 26th, 2011.