A woman who was allegedly gang raped by three men last Tuesday is now on the receiving end of life threats from associates of the accused.
The suspects, all of whom are in police custody, include an officer from the Federal Investigation Agency’s (FIA) Karachi office, a mill owner from Lahore,and a woman accused of luring the victim with a fake job offer.
While 20-year-old Bisma* wants to see them punished by the courts, she fears that the threats to her and her family will derail the process.
“A woman claiming to be sister of Bano* [the woman accused of offering Bisma a non-existent job] came to our house with some armed men and asked me to withdraw the case or face the consequences,” said Bisma, a resident of Lahore, while speaking to Express News from an undisclosed location in Islamabad.
Bisma said she lodged a complaint about the threat with the Muslim Town police in Lahore, who in turn registered a case against the woman and the armed men. However, the girl, and her parents left Lahore in fear and are now staying with relatives in Islamabad.
“I am appealing to the court for justice or else I will commit suicide in front of the Supreme Court,” she said. She added that Bano took her to Islamabad promising that she had arranged a job for her with a salary of Rs30,000 per month. Her mother had reluctantly agreed to let her leave town to take the job, Bisma said.
Her mother said she had no sons and her husband had health problems and could not work anymore, so she sent her to Islamabad hoping the girl, who had a bachelor’s degree in commerce, could earn a livelihood for the family.
However, Bano took Bisma to a five-star hotel in Islamabad and handed her to the mill owner, his driver, and the FIA officer, who raped her, and then gave her Rs5,000 “to keep her mouth shut”, Bisma said.
The police said the initial medical reports provided proof of rape. The suspects were arrested from the same hotel after the girl called Rescue 15. The Secretariat police said the girl had not contacted them to request protection or to share details of any threats to her life.
*Name changed to protect the identity of the victim.
Published in The Express Tribune, September 18th, 2012.