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‘Gang rape’ case Court orders inquiry into taking away of newborn

PESHAWAR: The Peshawar High Court on Saturday ordered judicial inquiry into the unauthorised taking away of an alleged gang rape victim’s newborn baby by the Provincial Commission on the Status of Women (PCSW) chairwoman and asked the relevant authorities to ensure early doing of DNA test on the girl and her daughter.

A bench comprising Chief Justice Dost Mohammad Khan and Justice Waqar Ahmad Seth deputed Peshawar district and sessions judge Ziauddin Khattak to hold the inquiry into the January 19 incident to name the culpable people by the next hearing fixed for February 15.

The chief justice has taken suo motu notice of the matter Friday evening after news items were aired by private television channels that in a high profile case a new born baby girl of a rape victim had gone missing.

The same evening the court had deputed an additional district and sessions judge and a female judge to visit the hospital and home of the victim and submit a report to the chief justice.

The bench ordered the provincial health secretary to constitute an inquiry team to be headed by the special health secretary or director general of health services and other professionals to investigate into this aspect of the matter as why rules were disregarded and an earlier order of the court was violated by the concerned staff when the baby was taken away from the hospital by the woman who was not related to the victim.

The bench observed that it was a highly detestable act in which the head of Hayatabad Medical Complex’s gynaecology ward, other lady doctors, nursing staff, midwives and administration wasto some extent involved as a division bench had already held in clear terms that no newly born baby shall be taken out of hospital without proper documentation and care.

The girl was allegedly taken away by a police party, which raided her residence on July 30, 2010. She could not be recovered for over a year and finally managed to escape from the captivity on September 19. She later charged around a dozen persons, including some policemen, with her kidnapping and rape.

Her brother, Alamzeb, was killed outside a court at Takhte Nusrati on December 9 allegedly by brother of the accused police official, Hakeen Shah.

During course of proceedings on Saturday, the bench asked officials of health department and police who would guarantee that the baby had not been changed. It was observed that the baby was prime evidence in the high profile case in which so far around two dozens police officers had either been placed under suspension or had been arrested.

The court said the samples taken from baby and the mother for DNA test must be sent to the Institute of pathology, Armed Forces Institute Rawalpindi and the head of the institute, who is a major general, must be written separate letter by the registrar of the PHC informing him about the sensitivity of this case.

Normally, no proceedings take place in the high court on Saturday but the chief justice specially formed the division bench, which conducted the hearing for several hours.

Several high-ups of police, including capital city police chief Imtiaz Altaf, DIG (Investigation) Mohammad Idrees Khan, SSP (Investigation) Attiquilah Wazir, SP (Cantonment) Mian Saeed, SHO East (Cantonment) Kamal Hussain,and others appeared in person.PCSW Chairwoman Zubaida Khatoon appeared before the court in person and narrated the entire episode staring from taking the victim to Hayatabad Medical Complex Thursday evening and taking away the baby for safety purpose.

Ms Zubaida Khatoon said being heading the commission it was her responsibility to take care of the victim. She added that the victim and her family had an understanding with her and a group of civil society supporters that as the4 victim did not want to keep the child and therefore, they would take care of the baby after his or her birth.

She said she and other members of the said support group were not aware about legal intricacies and whatever they had done it was in good faith and for the welfare of the baby.

The bench put several harsh queries to the police high-ups observing that they had failed to perform their duty.

‘On last date of hearing the court was apprehending expected delivery of baby conceived by the girl. For her own security more preferably that of baby and to arrange DNA test samples for test through a specialised hand of a leading hospital at Peshawar we directed that victim and her family be shifted to residential quarter at Civil Quarter and same time police directed to provide sufficient security guards at the residence to ensure security of victim and family and to take sample after delivery of baby for DNA and other forensic test immediately,’ the court said.

The bench expressed astonishment as to why the victim was taken to HMC which was around six to seven kilometers away from the residential quarter instead of the nearby and well-equipped Lady Reading Hospital.

By: Dawn