A woman was brought to district headquarters hospital on Saturday with 40 per cent burns after she set herself alight in protest against the police for setting free her rapists.
Her family told doctors that she had doused herself with kerosene oil and set herself on fire 10 days ago. They said they had tried to treat her at home but her condition had deteriorated.
District Police Officer Ghulam Mubashar Maiken took notice of the report and visited the woman at the hospital.
She told Maiken that she was abducted by Muhammad Abbas* and three accomplices five months ago. She said she was kept at a house in Shakir Town where she was repeatedly raped. She said she managed to escape last month and approached police. She said they registered an FIR against Abbas, Karim Bakhsh, Muhammad Umer and Nazar Hussain and arrested them. However later, she said, they were set free after they gave police bribes.
The DPO assured her and her family that justice would be served expeditiously. He said if some official was found guilty of accepting bribes or negligence, they would be punished. He ordered the investigations superintendent to find the suspects and re-arrest them.
The woman was shifted to Nishtar Medical Hospital in Multan on his orders.
Talking to The Express Tribune, the DPO said the medico-legal report of the victim had shown that she was assaulted multiple times.
He said Abbas had been arrested within hours of the woman getting admitted to the hospital.
He said that he had ordered a fresh inquiry of involvement of other suspects and the police had detained them.
He said the investigator had contacted the girl for a DNA test but she had declined the option.
Chief Minister Shahbaz Sharif also took notice of the incident and expressed solidarity with the victim.
In a statement, he ordered the DPO to submit a report of the steps taken by police within 24 hours. The chief minister said protecting rights of women was a duty of the police and if any officer was found guilty of negligence or shirking their duties, they would be taken to task.
NAMES HAVE BEEN CHANGED TO PROTECT IDENTIFIES
Published in The Express Tribune, August 31st, 2014.