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Fourteen rape cases reported during March

KARACHI (PPI) – War Against Rape (WAR), Karachi, has expressed outrage and grief over the recent incidents of rape and gang-rape in different parts of the country and called for justice to the victims.

In a statement on Friday, it said within the month of March, 14 cases have been reported from different cities where such crimes were either perpetrated or facilitated by influential parties. In a recent case in Karachi, a woman was left by a male relative to bleed to death after he failed to rape her and stabbed her instead, it added.

WAR said, “The Chemical Examiner’s office in Karachi is being blamed for tampering with evidence which linked the rapist to the incident.

The case is supported by the testimony of the woman’s son who was present at the time of the assault.”

In another case in Karachi where a woman was reportedly gang-raped at Quaid-e-Azam mausoleum by five unknown men, but the police have so far only been able to get remand for one culprit out of five as influential people are reportedly involved in this case, the organization said.

It said – “Another case reported from Nawabshah in a local newspaper in March tells the tale of le suspension of two policemen gang-raping a scheduled caste Homan for two days while keeping her in custody at a police quarter causing the miscarriage of her 3 month old child, meanwhile in another gang-rape case from Sukkur, the Investigation Officer has refrained from arresting one out of five person accused and has disposed off the case in B-class (false report).”

Similarly, a 16 year-old girl from Dadu has threatened the local police of committing suicide if her culprits are not arrested. In this case, one person nominated in the FIR is the brother of ASI. ‘WAR said that two more cases, one from Lahore (gang-rape) and other from Pano Aqil (rape) are of a seven-year old girl whose uterus had to be removed to save her life and other of a one-and-half-year old girl raped by a 17 year old juvenile.
The average age of survivors of rape and gang-rape reported from different cities in the month of March is approximately 14 years, where most cases are those of minors, aged less than 16, and one as young as 18 months.

“Additionally, data collected from the Police Surgeon’s office and other government hospitals and the Capital City Police Office (CCPO) for the last several years by WAR shows that the number of First Information Reports (FIRs) lodged with the police under the offence of rape (PPC) is usually half or less than half of the amount of medico-legal examinations conducted for survivors.

This is indicative of the reluctance of and discouragement by the Police to file FIRs against culprits, among other things. At the same time, though the numbers of medico-legal examination show an erratic trend from year to year without the number of FIRs following proportionally, the conviction rate in rape cases is as low as it has ever been.”

Some of the suggestions put forth by WAR for the new government are – The government should ensure that the police file an FIR immediately in the event of a rape before starting investigation of any kind, and that there is a transparent method for the complainant to contest the contents of the F.I.R. considering that there is often much discrepancy between the survivors’ stories and FIRs.

There should be efficiency mechanisms put in place that stunt corruption and pre-trial manipulation of evidence. The government should centralize the processing of rape cases in the Women’s Police Station in Karachi and must ensure effective execution by giving women police officers the same powers as those of the male police force. Women police officers should be authorized to file FIRs, investigate cases, and make arrests.

Similarly, the infrastructure of the Women’s Police Station should be brought up to standard, with the provision of adequate space to conduct day-to-day workings as in any fully functional police station in Karachi. The new government of the PPP should take the initiative of setting up more Women Police stations in Karachi further than what was accomplished in its last tenure.

The government should put time-caps on all rape cases and ensure their settlement within three to four months. Specifically, the government needs to better fund and organize the system of producing the accused in court (including such things as the provision of police mobiles and adequate transportation allowances) and to facilitate the transfer of prisoners and information between Karachi and other pasts of Sindh, where the rape case is being tried, and the other jurisdictions involved.

It should establish Rape Crisis Centers in every city and town of Pakistan, staffed by trained female doctors and lawyers, a female police officer, and a lab technician.
These one-window support centers should be established as a facilitative mechanism supporting families seeking police and medico-legal assistance and registering of FIRs. Provision of legal counseling support should also be made accessible at these centers.
Source: The Nation
Date:3/29/2008

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