LAHORE: Despite suo motu notices taken by at least two chief judges and another notice by the Punjab chief minister over a five-year-old girl’s rape in Lahore, little headway has been made except empty promises.
On the ground, nothing much has happened. With no arrests made, progress is stunted in the case involving the rape of a child S* which took place on September 13, 2013. But those proclaiming that the case should be solved have acquired a fair share of attention.
Notices by former chief justice Iftikhar Muhammad Chaudhry and his successor Tassaduq Hussain Jillani got wide media coverage in and outside Pakistan. The ‘notice’ taken by Shahbaz Sharif garnered similar attention.
The Punjab police chief, Khan Beg, also got his share of media coverage when he formed two investigation teams headed by separate superintendents of police.
Punjab Law Minister Rana Sanaullah, too, got air time when he issued fiery statements on news channels demanding that the culprits be arrested ‘soon’.
Not far behind in this race, the opposition was on air lambasting the government for failing to make any arrests.
In this regard, PTI workers under the leadership of their Punjab president Ejaz Chaudhry and general secretary Dr Yasmin Rashid lodged a protest on October 20 in front of the Lahore Press Club.
However, even with all the clatter of slogans, the family of the victim silently looks on; it has gained nothing from these notices, hollow slogans and political statements except defamation and insult in society.
Legal experts feel that if the culprits are not arrested after the second suo motu by Chief Justice Jillani, there will be a big ‘question mark’ over the suo motu jurisdiction of the Supreme Court.
On the day of the incident on September 13, when the culprit threw S in front of the Ganga Ram Hospital in critical condition after subjecting her to sexual abuse, retired Justice Chaudhry had directed the inspector general to file a report in the court over the incident the very next day.
However, on September 14, the IGP submitted a report in the office of the Supreme Court registrar, but no court proceedings related to the matter took place that day or in the days to follow.
As Iftikhar Chaudhry retired on December 11, the newly appointed chief justice also took suo motu notice over this incident on December 21, and directed the IGP to appear before the court on December 24 over the failure of police in arresting the accused.
Following the court’s instructions, the IGP appeared before the court’s Lahore registry admitting that “no arrest so far can be made”.
He said 186 suspects had been investigated and that DNA and polygraph tests conducted but to no avail. However, the court gave them two weeks’ time to arrest the accused. The hearing will take place in Islamabad.
About the police investigation, one investigation team headed by SP Imtiaz Sarwar was dissolved as he was transferred. He has no information about progress on the matter. The other team headed by SP Umar Virk is dealing with the matter but said no progress has been made in terms of arrests.
The investigation officer Zakaullah told The Express Tribune that no development has been made. He said they have “done what they could” to try and arrest the culprit but with no success. Suspects have been rounded up with forensic analyses also conducted, but nothing has led the police to the rapist.
Published in The Express Tribune, January 7th, 2014.
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