SAHIWAL, Dec 27: Khairpur, the hometown of Sindh Chief Minister Qaim Ali Shah never ceases to hit the headlines for wrong reasons.
First, it was honour killing of 17-year-old Tasleem Solangi who was left to be devoured by dogs before being shot dead.
Now, it is the alleged kidnapping, rape and trade of four women, including a 68-year-old woman, of Sahiwal, at the hand of a gang based in Khairpur. Even though the alleged rape victims have returned to their homes but a three-year-old baby, the son of one the kidnapped women, is still in the clutches of the alleged kidnappers.
Rape victims have appealed to Punjab, Sindh and federal governments to rescue the baby, provide justice and protection from the gangsters.
The Human Rights Commission of Pakistan (HRCP), Sahiwal district core group, arranged a press conference on Friday where the women shared the details of this horrendous incident.
According to them, Wallan Bibi, 68, of 58/GD, with her daughters Sheema 16, Nasreen, 18, and Sakeena, 20, and a three-year-old grandson Ali Raza, was returning home from the Sahiwal city on Oct 8, 2008. They sat in a van near Jogi Chowk wherein six passengers, including three women, were already present. During the journey to their village, one of the passengers sprayed some chemical in the van which left them unconscious. When they returned to their senses, the women found themselves in goth Tando Masti, Khairpur district (Sindh).
The man driving the van was Sultan, alias Sultani, the head of the gang involved in women’s kidnapping and trafficking.
When Wallan and others did not reach the village, his son Ali Zaman reported the matter to Bahadar Shah check post. ASI Shafqat Rasool, however, did not register any first information report (FIR) as the family could not nominate any one in the kidnapping case.
“For seven days, my daughters and I were tortured and raped by six people, including Sultani in goth Tando Masti,” Wallan said.
“After seven days, my daughters were sold to three customers by Sultani and his wife Mumtaz Bibi.”
“Before selling me, they snatched my son Ali Raza and I still have no information about him,” said Sakeena with tears in her eyes.
The women were sold to Lakhmeer, Ayaz and Awais. Later, Wallan incidentally met a Punjabi woman in the goth who informed the Wallan’s son about the ordeal of his mother and sisters.
The family went to Khairpur on Nov 1 and informed Khairpur DPO Pir Muhammad Shah about the incident. Mr Hasan took personal interest in the matter and got recovered Wallan and her three daughters from the kidnapper’s and buyers’ custody after raiding different places in four weeks. Wallan said Sultani took Ali Raza with him while fleeing from his house.
The family returned to the village on Dec 2 and was trying to cope with traumatic conditions, when on Dec 12, 2008, Lakhmeer, Ayaz, and Awais, the buyers of the women, chased the women to village Bahadar Shah. They arrived in a car (ALW-748) and tried to kidnap the women at gunpoint. When Sakeena and Wallan cried out for help, villagers came to rescue them. Seeing the people in flocks, kidnappers tried to flee but villagers captured them and handed them over to Noor Shah police.
Police say that Lakhmeer, the buyer of Sakeena, has no information about the three-year-old baby as Sakeena was sold to him as a virgin.
Lakhmeer, Ayaz and Awais are in Sahiwal Central Jail and Noor Shah Police chalaned them on Dec 19. Sultani and his wife Mumtaz Bibi were arrested in another women kidnapping case by Chuhng police in Lahore, and are in Kotlakhpat Jail. Syed Alamdar, HRCP district core group chairman, said the Sultani gang was an inter-provincial women kidnapper gang and most of their victims were rural women.