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Gang rape in capital

Another teenage girl has been gang raped by police officials at a police station. But this time it is not just in any town. The terrible incident took place in Islamabad, the country’s capital. The 15-year-old girl was subjected to the crime between May17 and May18 night. Saira was travelling in a car with her mother and three other adults, including a woman, when the police stopped the car and ordered them to prove their identity. All the five occupants were taken to Shahzad Town Police Station where the sub-inspector told them that if they didn’t pay Rs200,000 in “honour money” (a useful addition, this, to the terminology of crimes against women in Pakistan), they would be formally detained through implication in a sex scandal and booked under the Zina Ordinance. The second woman was also repeatedly raped. Needless to say, the five were not charged with any crime, but part of the “honour money” was nevertheless extracted: the two men were allegedly robbed by the policemen of Rs25,000 and two ATM cards they were carrying. After an uproar following the publication of the story in this paper, the four police officers involved, including a DSP and SHO, were suspended and arrested.

Only recently, Nazish, a 17-year-old college student from Sialkot, was raped by police officials at a police station where she had ended up after having been gang-raped for 37 days following her kidnapping in January. Gen. Pervez Musharraf ordered a high-level inquiry into that incident, particularly since policemen were involved. But the fact that an enquiry had been ordered by the president himself, did not deter last week’s maniacs.

Just a day before Nazish was kidnapped, Dr Shazia Khalid was raped in Sui. The man accused of the crime was also allegedly a member of a law enforcing agency. Sadly, unless such incidents are dealt with swiftly and effectively, Pakistan’s attempts to project a “soft” image to the world at large will repeatedly be obscured by its “callous” image.

Source: The News

Date:5/24/2005

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