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Cross-examination of gang-rape victim concludes

KARACHI: A defence lawyer completed the cross-examination of a gang-rape victim before a district and sessions judge on Wednesday.

Seven accused — Abdul Jabbar, Ali Hasan, Shah Zado, Bashir Ahmed, Anwar Hussain, Khadim Hussain and Shah Baig — along with their absconding accomplices have been charged with kidnapping the victim, Naseema Lubano, from her house in Ghotki district in January 2007 and then subjecting her to gang-rape.

During the cross-examination, the defence counsel, Iqbal Shah, who is representing all the accused, asked the victim whether her parents were present when she was picked up from her house and where the kidnappers detained her.

The victim replied that the accused had kidnapped her in the presence of her mother, younger brothers and sisters and they took her to the house of an absconding accused, Abdul Sattar.

In reply to another question, the victim girl said that she remained in the custody of the accused for about two hours. She replied in the affirmative when asked if she had been subjected to gang-rape by all the accused. The seven accused were present in the court room during the hearing.

She was asked as to why she did not cry for help while she was being taken to the residence of one of the accused. The victim replied that she had indeed cried for help, but no one came forward fearing the wrath of the accused who wielded great influence in the area.

The defence lawyer also asked the victim whether the prosecutor helped her identify the accused before the trial court by pointing his finger in their direction. She replied in the negative. She said that it was also incorrect to suggest that she and her father lodged a false case against the accused persons in order to take revenge.

The special public prosecutor, Abdul Maroof, as well as other lawyers assisting the prosecution in the case, raised objections to what they described as graphic questions posed by the defence counsel during the cross-examination.

According to the prosecution, the accused along with their absconding accomplices had forcefully entered the house of Naseema Lubano, 18, daughter of Hamzu, on January 27, 2007 in the jurisdiction of the Ubaro police station. The armed accused kidnapped her and took her to the residence of an absconding accused, Abdul Sattar, where they gang-raped her, it added.

A case (FIR No 07/2007) was registered under Section 10(4) of the Offence of Zina (Enforcement of Hudood) Ordinance, 1979, and Sections 354-A, 452, 147, 148, 149, 337-A(i) and 337-F(i) of the Pakistan Penal Code at the Ubaro police station on the complaint of the victim’s father.

Later, the section related to the Offence of Zina (Enforcement of Hudood) Ordinance was replaced with Section 376-B of the Protection of Women (Criminal Laws Amendment) Act, 2006.

The police arrested Loung Khan, Abdul Jabbar, Ali Hasan, Shah Zado, Bashir Ahmed and Anwar Hussain on Feb 1, 2007. Later, two more accused, Khadim Hussain and Shah Baig, were also arrested.

However, accused Abdul Sattar, Manawar Hussain and Moro Zada are still at large.

One of the arrested accused, Loung Khan, was granted bail in view of his old age. However, he was killed in a road accident and the SHO of the Ubaro police station later submitted the relevant death certificate in court.

Initially, the case was tried in a sessions court at Mirpur Mathelo. However, the Sindh High Court transferred the case to the district and sessions court (south) in Karachi on the request of the victim’s father.
Source: Dawn

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