The five women standing outside Karachi Press Club on Thursday could not stop the tears running down their cheeks.
Four of these women were raped in their house by dacoits during a burglary nearly two months ago in Khairpur. They have come to Karachi to protest and fight for their family’s honour. The women demanded that their rapists be arrested. They said that they were dishonored and wanted justice.
Joining them at the protest were nationalist party members and people from human rights organisations.
Their faces were covered by their dupattas which they occasionally used to wipe their tear-stained cheeks. “Humaray saath zulm hua hai [a great injustice has been done to us],” said the oldest woman. She was spared by the dacoits due to her age but two of her unmarried daughters were not as their virginity was brutally taken away along with all their cash and belongings.
On the night of May 25, seven men broke into Muhammad Paryal’s house in Memon Mohallah in Rasoolabad Town. At the time of the incident, he was the only man at home with five women of the family - his mother-in-law, his wife, two sisters-in-law and a niece.
At first the dacoits took all the cash, gold, other valuables and then proceeded to gang rape four of the women. “Everyone was sleeping at the time,” said Paryal’s wife who was also gang raped. “The men were holding Kalashnikovs. They took us to a room and locked the doors. They abused us there.” She was talking in Sindhi and a man standing next to her kept translating what she said.
Paryal could hear the women screaming but was unable to do anything as he was locked up in another room.
The family initially went on to register an FIR against the robbery, fearing that if they mentioned the rapes, it would bring ‘dishonour’ to them.
It was only after videos of the gang rape were found by the police during the investigation that the family admitted the women had been abused. So far, only two men out of the seven involved in the robbery and gang-rape have been arrested.
The president of the Sindh Memon Ittehad, Haji Abduk Razzak Memon, who organised the protest said that they demanded the chief justice to take suo motu notice of the incident.
An advocate demanded that the chief minister Qaim Ali Shah should take action as the incident took place in his district. “He should have visited these women,” said the advocate. “Where is he?”
Protesters demanded that the case should be heard at the Anti-Terrorism Court while the SP and DSP of the area should be suspended. They said that it was also important to provide the family with protection.
Published in The Express Tribune, July 18th, 2014.