Success story: How a news story won a gang-rape victim justice

Published: January 2, 2014
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eight men who committed the heinous crime have each been awarded 14 years prison term by the anti-terrorism court in Mirpurkhas.  PHOTO: FILE

eight men who committed the heinous crime have each been awarded 14 years prison term by the anti-terrorism court in Mirpurkhas. PHOTO: FILE

KARACHI: 

“We are poor people. We never expected to get justice. We are all so happy that at least the culprits have been punished. Thank you, adi (sister). The story your newspaper published had a strong impact, as did the pressure from rights activists. We got justice,” says a grateful and emotional *T, husband of a gang-rape victim in Tharparkar some three months after the horrific incident.

From the time when *M was raped till the verdict came, T and his family went through hell. The motive behind the crime turned out to be some men of their own community in Tharparkar getting back at each other. It ended in *M getting gang raped in front of her husband and children some three months ago. “We are grateful, though even 14 years is not enough punishment for what they did. No punishment is enough,” says T, satisfied with the justice but not yet healed of the trauma.

“This is such a success story. It is cause to celebrate. The credit goes a 100 per cent to the joint efforts of the media, civil society and rights activists,” says a delighted Amar Sindhu who was very much involved in the activism behind the case. Sindhu represents the Women’s Action Forum (WAF) and is a member of the Sindh Human Rights Commission. She added that the popular perception of locals is that if the media highlights an issue, justice follows. Sindhu and others like her played an important role by guiding the victim and her family to get justice through legal procedures.

“The prominent coverage given by The Express Tribune to the issue really helped, along with human rights activists who brought spotlight to the issue. Authorities had no option but to take this case seriously after the pressure was applied. Media, in general, played a good role in this case,” says Ali Akbar, Executive Director, Association for Water, Applied Education & Renewable Energy (AWARE) in Tharparkar. According to Akbar, he heard from the local authorities and regional language media confirmed that the Chief Justice took notice of the case, and that helped expedite the police’s prompt action in arresting the perpetrators.

In an encouraging turn of events and an unusual case of culprits actually getting punished, the eight men who committed the heinous crime have each been awarded 14 years prison term by the anti-terrorism court in Mirpurkhas. “Because the perpetrators used weapons, we were advised by a lawyer that the case should go to the anti-terrorism court from the district and sessions judge,” said Akbar. The fact that the case was taken up in the anti-terrorism court helped expedite the verdict.

This encouraging verdict came a few days ahead of the Chief Justice taking suo motu notice of the recent Karachi rape case of a 12 year old girl, and took notice of the non-arrest of those who raped the five-year-old girl in Lahore on September 13.

“This was the first prominent incident of gang rape in Tharparkar. It was the first time punishment had to be meted out in this area under Pakistan Penal Code’s Section 376 (2). We, the police, are glad that our investigation and hard work have paid off,” says Ghulam Mustafa Kachelo, Station House Officer (SHO), Taluka Chachro. He was on duty on the case.

Akbar feels that this has set a good precedent that the wronged have gotten justice, and this will in the future be a deterrent for others who think of committing such a crime.

“Undoubtedly, very few rape cases have had convictions. This is a welcome move that courts are beginning to take such cases seriously and are recognising the crime and the prevailing conditions. This should be highlighted that now courts have begun convictions in such cases,” says Justice Majida Rizvi, Chairperson Sindh Human Rights Commission.

“We are thankful to all those who echoed the voice of the Thari people and supported the process of getting justice. With this success, we have realised that the media can play a pivotal role in helping vulnerable people,” says Akbar.

Published in The Express Tribune, January 2nd, 2014. 

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Reader Comments (7)

  • Saleem
    Jan 2, 2014 - 5:50AM

    Hats off to all those who helped bring this horrific incident to its logical end. I wish, however, that sentence for such crimes be lot longer so that it becomes a lesson for anyone thinking about it. I hope lawyer fraternity can push for such laws as well as admissibility of DNA as it is recognized as a crucial evidence in such cases all over the world.

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  • Aamir - Toronto
    Jan 2, 2014 - 5:58AM

    Bravo……glad to know to know that still there are people who fight for justice.

    Recommend

  • Gp65
    Jan 2, 2014 - 8:33AM

    This is indeed encouraging news. It is time that instead of shaming the victim and her family, we as society punish the criminal. Instead of focusing on the clothes and character of he ictim, we should focus on the conduct of the oppressor.

    Hope more such cases result in conviction and also that such convictions are widely reported – emboldening the victims to come forward and report the rape.Recommend

  • Samreen
    Jan 2, 2014 - 9:24AM

    Hat off to all those who have help the victims in getting justice…i am surprised to se that people in ur country are getting jsutice …

    its really a a ray of hope in complete darkenss….

    Recommend

  • Kamil
    Jan 2, 2014 - 9:37AM

    Salute to Civil Society, Media and Law Enforcers for the act. Could only wish that national collective efforts are more coordinated and consistent against all such crimes against women and children. Recently liyari gangsters whom peoples party former “interior” minister zulfikar mirza used to call as their “children” reportedly assaulted a woman and her daughter in their house and then killed the family but no uproar is caused perhaps due to fear of peoples party

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  • Jan 2, 2014 - 9:39AM

    Viva! Bravo! Shabash! Collective awakening and cooperation is what is needed against the evildoers. The combined action force of WAF, Sindh Human Rights, AWARE, the Chief Justice, media, police SHO, among others who felt deeply pained and co-operated. The victim must now be given support and confidence that retaliation will not occur. Salams to Pakistan

    Recommend

  • Sono Khangharani
    Jan 9, 2014 - 2:54PM

    Well done The Express Tribune and all others who helped the victims in getting justice. we are proud of you all. There are number of similar cases happened in the past in Thar, which were reported, FIR lodged but due to weak follow up the culprits escaped the verdict. also, mostly such cases happened with low caste community women.

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