MULTAN: The brother of female cricketer Haleema Rafique moved the Multan bench of the Lahore High Court on Friday, demanding the police register an FIR under Section 302 (murder) against the Multan Cricket Club (MCC) officials accused of sexually harassing his sister and her colleagues.
Muhammad Arshad approached the court because he does not trust the police, who, according to him, are not cooperating. Therefore, he filed a petition, asking the court to direct the police to lodge an FIR against MCC chairman Maulvi Sultan Alam and other selectors.
Earlier, the family had written to the police a day after Haleema’s alleged suicide that they do not want to take legal action against anyone. The written statement was made part of the investigations by the Gulghast police in Multan. Even though CCPO Lahore Zulfiqar Hameed had summoned the family for their application against any suspected person on Thursday, they refused to go to the police.
Sources close to the family told The Express Tribune that Halima’s family had been pressurised not to take any legal action against MCC.
Three days after the cricketer allegedly committed suicide, her family held prayers for the deceased.
Meanwhile, five demonstrations were held by activists and lawyers in different parts of the city in solidarity with the victim.
Calling for justice, the lawyers argued that if justice was not served it would deter female participation in sports.
Civil society activist Faheem Akhtar condemning the incident suggested that an unbiased probe should be conducted in the case. “Six women publicly accusing someone of sexual harassment should not be taken lightly”.
The 17-year-old female cricketer reportedly committed suicide earlier this week, months after she and four other cricketers levelled harassment charges against top officials of the Multan Cricket Club.
Rafiq drank acid used to sterilise toilets and lost consciousness on Monday.
More than a year ago, Haleema and five other female cricketers accused officials of the Multan Cricket Club of sexual harassment. The cricketers told the media that the officials demanded sexual favours in exchange for selection in the team.
A Pakistan Cricket Board (PCB) inquiry deemed that the five cricketers should be banned from play for six months and the officials censured. Following the inquiry, Haleema received summons from court and was threatened with a fine of Rs20 million. She served out the ban but did not return to the squad.
Published in The Express Tribune, July 19th, 2014.
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