The Sahiwal district police officer has announced a Rs200,000 cash prize for anyone who helps the police arrest the people who have been stabbing women in shopping areas.
On Saturday, DPO Syed Khurram Ali had suspended Cheechawatni Station House Officer Abid Hussain from service for failing to arrest the gang members. The SHO had been given four days to track the suspects.
The DPO said that a criminal gang had recently surfaced in Cheechawatni. He said the gang members stabbed women “for leaving their houses after sunset”. He said most of the women were attacked in shopping areas.
Police said at least 25 cases had been reported in October so far. In most cases, they said, the victims were accompanied by brothers and husbands waiting in the parking area while they went shopping.
Dr Asim Nawaz at the tehsil headquarters hospital told The Express Tribune that two to three women were being brought to the hospital every day since October 6. He said most of them had been stabbed in the shoulders, back and arms. Some had also been attacked on their faces.
He said four women were brought to the hospital on Saturday. Three of them were referred to the district headquarters hospital in Sahiwal.
One of the injured woman, who did not want to disclose her identity, told The Express Tribune that a masked man stopped her and asked why she was out in the market unaccompanied. She said she ignored him and walked away but he stabbed her in the shoulder.
The DPO said the incidents had caused alarm among residents, who were not allowing their women to leave home or go shopping on their own.
He said they had also led to low attendance at girls’ schools and colleges. He said some working women had requested the police for deployment at major roads.
He said most cases had been reported from Ahmed Nagar, Ali Town, Block No 10, Block No 19, Kamalia Road, and Gyarawala Mor. He said the victims had not been robbed.
He said the injured women had told police that the assailants had told them that they were not allowed to leave their homes and that “it was against the Sharia law for women to go shopping”.
Published in The Express Tribune, October 28th, 2013.