* Police believe ‘media trial’ affecting investigations
KARACHI/SUKKUR: The FIR lodged after Naseema Labano’s gang rape on January 27 appears to have a number of discrepancies, including differing versions of the way she went home after the incident.
The FIR (No. 07-2007) was filed by Naseema’s father Hamzo at 6:30 p.m. on Jan 27. It was registered by Ubavro ASI Peeroz Khan. The FIR starts off with a background about the relationship between Abdus Sattar (an accused) and Naseema’s family. Abdus Sattar had had a fight with the elders of Naseema’s family over some matter related to children a while ago. After the fight, Sattar had threatened the family. “He used to say that he will ruin our reputation, and will not leave us fit to live,” Hamzo said in the FIR.
Naseema’s father works at a fertilizer factory in Dharki. “On Jan 27, I had gone to work as usual. At 3 p.m. my son, Asghar Ali came to me and said that Abdus Sattar and some other people had barged into our house. They beat Naseema, took her by force to the house, raped her, and sent her home naked,” Hamzo stated in the FIR. “I came home immediately and saw Naseema crying. … She said that she had been sitting with her mother (Nazeeran) at home, when Abdus Sattar and his friends barged in at around 1 p.m.”
Eleven men were nominated in the FIR: Abdus Sattar, and his brothers Shehzado, Morzado, and Abdul Jabbar (sons of Budho Labano), Manwar Hussain (son of Habibullah), Anwar Hussain and his brothers Khadim Hussain, Ali Hasan, and Naeem Shah Baig (sons of Long Khan), Long Khan (son of Ismail) and Bashir Ahmed (son of Jamaldin, resident of Dharki). Of these, Shahzado, Abdul Jabbar, Anwar Hussain, Ali Hasan, Naeem Shah Baig, and Long Khan have been arrested.
According to the FIR, the men who entered Naseema’s house on Jan 27 were armed, Abdus Sattar and Manwar had guns, while Anwar Hussain had a rifle. They beat Naseema and her mother, dragged Naseema to Abdus Sattar’s house, and locked her up. “Abdus Sattar then raped her. After this Anwar Hussain came into the room and he raped her as well,” the FIR said. “Naseema pleaded with them to stop, but they wouldn’t. Hearing her scream, Sardar Ali (son of Varyan), Jamaluddin (son of Zar Gul) and other people from the village rushed in and set her free. She ran home without her clothes.”
However, the next paragraph in the FIR says: “Abdus Sattar and Anwar raped Naseema, and then forced her to walk home naked.”
People familiar with the customs and norms of the area said that the latter seems more in tune with reality, because, firstly, when people from the village rushed in to help her, under no circumstance would they have let Naseema go home without anything covering her body. Secondly, the girl herself would not have gone out on the street naked, had she not been forced to do it under duress.
Ubavro ASI Peeroz Khan was not available for comment Thursday. His brother (who answered Khan’s cell phone) said that the investigating officer for the case, Aftab Hassan Farooqui, should be contacted instead.
“The media trial has had a negative impact on our investigations,” Farooqui told Daily Times. “It has caused the remaining five men to go into hiding, because now they’re sure of being hauled into court and punished. We are trying our best to trace them. We have conducted countless raids, but they keep changing their hideouts. The remand for the six men in police custody is going to expire tomorrow (Friday), and we will talk to our higher-ups if the investigation results up until now warrant a challan. If we file a challan, these men will be presented in court, and the remaining five men will become ‘absconders.’ A list will be sent out to all police stations across the city, and they will have no place to hide. Right now I’m in Mirpur Market, and we’re preparing for another raid.”
About the security being provided to Naseema’s relatives in the village, Farooqui said that a picket had been put up there. “A sub-inspector and a constable have been assigned there,” he said.
When asked whether action was being taken against police officials who had initially hindered investigations, Farooqui said: “That’s our department’s problem. Right now we’re too busy to do anything about it. It will be dealt with after we have apprehended the five remaining men.”
Naseema was admitted to Sukkur Hospital before she was brought to Karachi. “Naseema was absolutely fine when she was discharged from Sukkur Hospital on Sunday (Feb 11),” hospital administrator, Dr. Abdul Jabbar, told Daily Times. “She was admitted Feb 9 (Friday). Dr. Ambreen and Dr. Kartal Lal were assigned to her case.”
“Naseema was malnourished, so we treated her for that. Apart from that, she had initially shown some signs of mental stress, so we gave her anti-depressants. She was also given psychotherapy for three days,” Dr Jabbar said. “However, she was fine otherwise, and we didn’t feel the need to give her anti-depressants after the first day. She complained of pain in her lower back. X-Rays were conducted, but we couldn’t find anything wrong. She was given painkillers. Naseema was in perfect condition when she was discharged on Sunday.”
She was brought to Karachi Tuesday evening, and admitted to Civil Hospital Karachi (CHK) Wednesday afternoon. On Thursday, Daily Times visited the hospital when the Advisor to the Chief Minister for Home Affairs, Waseem Akhtar, went to see Naseema and her family. The media is (officially) still not being allowed contact with the family.
One room has been reserved for Naseema and her family in Gynae Ward-3. When Akhtar entered the room, Naseema was talking to a journalist on her grandfather’s cell phone. The minister told her grandfather not to let anyone speak to Naseema at all, “because it will stress her out more. If I find out that she’s been talking to anyone at all, your cell phone will be taken away,” he said.
Akhtar asked Naseema’s parents to be strong “because seeing you crying this way would stress her out as well,” he said. Naseema’s uncle and grandfather requested security for their family members in the village. ‘We have school-going children there. We need to know that they will be protected,’ they said. The minister assured them that maximum security would be provided to everyone. He also requested Naseema’s parents to ask her to allow doctors to conduct necessary tests. “No one will harm you here. These are all very professional doctors,” he said. Naseema has been refusing to be examined since being admitted at CHK Wednesday afternoon.
When asked why the fact that Naseema had been raped previously (as a result of which she is now over two months pregnant) is not being made public, Akhtar said: “It will increase the pressure on the girl. Enough has been done about this in the media. We don’t need them to highlight this any further,” the home advisor said.
“We’re making sure that proper medical facilities are being provided to Naseema,” Akhtar told media personnel waiting for him outside Naseema’s room at CHK. “I’m satisfied with the doctors here. Her tests are being conducted at the Aga Khan University Hospital, and we’re waiting for the results.”
When asked if any action had been taken against the police officers who had delayed investigations, Akhtar said that investigations were under way and it was too early to comment on that. Daily Times tried to speak to Naseema’s gynaecologist at CHK, Prof. Dr. Nusrat H. Khan, for details about Naseema’s medical history, the treatment being given to her at CHK, and future plans for treatment. However, Dr. Khan declined to answer any questions. “I’m sorry but I can’t give out details about a patient,” she said
Source: Daily Times