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Doctor’s rape prompts new calls for women’s rights

KARACHI,January 19,2005:A string of horrific sexual abuse cases in Pakistan, including the alleged gang rape of a woman doctor by an army captain and three security guards, has sparked fresh calls for action to tackle widespread violence against women.

Newspapers have been filled with lurid details of the recent attacks, the latest of which was the rape and murder of a nine-year-old girl as she went to buy bread for her family in Karachi. A baker was arrested in connection with the crime after the child’s partially charred body was found in a hold all.

Just 48 hours earlier, a young domestic servant was set alight after being brutally raped in another area of Karachi. She is fighting for life in a government hospital with 98 percent burns. However, it was the alleged sexual assault on a woman doctor at Sui that has caused most outrage, sparking revenge rocket attacks on the state-run facility by angry tribesmen, which killed eight people.

The doctor in her 30s was allegedly assaulted by up to four men a fortnight ago while she was working in the hospital at the Sui gas field in Balochistan. Investigators found condoms and bloodstained bed sheets in the doctor’s room.

But the alleged victim herself has refused to lodge a complaint with the police – something rights activists say highlights a major social problem in largely conservative Pakistan.

Campaigners claim sex offenders can be encouraged by Pakistan’s medieval-style justice system, under which women who cannot prove they were raped face the prospect of an adultery conviction.
Source: Daily Times