Peshawar High Court (PHC) ordered a judicial inquiry on Saturday to ascertain how the Karak rape victim’s baby was handed over to an NGO the day before and held the police and hospital administration responsible for the negligence.
Saima*, who has since been reunited with her daughter, Laiba, had accused the NGO of taking her away without her permission, shortly after she was born at Hayatabad Medical Complex on Friday. This prompted Chief Justice (CJ) PHC Dost Muhammad Khan to form a committee headed by DIG Idrees Khan, Session Judge Anees Bukhari and Principal Khyber Medical College Zahir Hussain to investigate the matter.
Talking to The Express Tribune, Saima said she had not been taken into confidence when her child was being taken away from her and that she was unsure if the baby was hers. The answer to her question: “Why was my child taken away without my permission?” has yet to be answered. Saima was reported to have given conflicting statements as she had earlier refused to take custody of the child.
The baby constitutes a crucial piece of evidence and her parentage will determine the veracity of her mother’s rape allegations against 13 men which include police officials. It is not yet clear how strangers were permitted to leave the hospital with the baby when she is effectively case property or why her blood sample was not taken before she was allowed to be taken away.
When contacted, social welfare minister Sitara Ayaz said Saima had refused custody of her child which is why she was given to the NGO. “We could not take any risks.”
The committee has suggested the capital city police officer be questioned to determine how the NGO took custody of the child in the presence of police officials. CJ Khan has ordered director general health to hold an inquiry into the incident. The committee also informed the court that blood samples from Saima and Laiba have been taken for DNA tests by a forensic laboratory.
CJ Khan has also ordered that the DNA tests be conducted from Armed Forces Institute, Rawalpindi, and that they be signed by a military officer equivalent in rank to a brigadier as well as the district and session judge who is a member of the judicial inquiry.
Talking to The Express Tribune, Senior Superintendent of Police (Investigation) Kohat, Attiq Wazir reiterated that the child was the most important evidence in the rape case. Although, the investigation is complete, DNA tests have not been conducted, he said.
“As soon as the DNA reports are received, the rapists will be sent behind bars.” None of the 13 men identified by Saima have given blood samples as yet.
After the baby’s birth, the investigation team rushed to Peshawar to secure the house Saima and her family have been provided by the government on the high court’s instructions and imposed a ban on media teams. Superintendent of Police Saeed Ahmed said four police officials along with two lady constables have been deputed at the residence and a police mobile vehicle has been assigned to escort them.
name has been changed to protect identity
Published in The Express Tribune, January 22nd, 2012.