By Xari Jalil
Karachi: Around three weeks after she was reported missing, seven year old Aliya was finally found. Only she was lying half naked near the boundary wall, inside the Karachi University premises, half -eaten away by insects, stray dogs and birds of prey.
To date, her gruesome death remains a mystery to her family. The campus officer who had by now been informed of the body, passed on the information to a police constable from the “intelligence”, as he introduced himself to The News. Police Constable (PC) Ashfaq* was stationed in the university for tip-offs of any sort, and soon the Mobina Town police received the news. They brought the parents of the dead child and as the father Akhtar Javed broke down, it was proved the girl was the one reported missing on May 12, 2009.
“I saw her little slippers,” he sobbed, as he revealed details. “That was all she was wearing …her pyjamas lay at a distance ahead…I could only recognize my baby girl through her clothes and shoes.”
Akhtar denies having any involvement in controversial matters that might have led to the death of his daughter. “I have no enemies,” he says. “In fact my children live in the Punjab with their grandparents. They had only come for a few days.”
Akhtar maintains that Aliya was playing outside the house in the afternoon. That was the last when she was seen, and on a public holiday like May 12, not many witnesses could be expected to have been around to see her being kidnapped or taken away by anyone.
Police investigators have usually reached conclusions that children this young who are kidnapped are usually lured away by people through temptation, (such as offering them sweets or toys), or easily carried away by acquaintances who the children are familiar with, and who present no suspicion to passers-by.
Though cases such as Aliya’s have occurred many times in the past, where children are kidnapped and raped, and later dumped dead (or half alive), in deserted places, it is not a norm for educational institutions to become body dumping grounds.
Karachi University’s Chief Security Advisor, Khalid Iraqi, confesses to the fact that many issues that relate to trespassers getting in easily have to be dealt with but for this, he says, the university administration needs to work with outside forces.
“For instance, the illegal encroachment area right behind the wall where the child was found, is adjacent to the PCSIR and this encroachment is called “laboratory” by its residents. Why is this encroachment so close to the walls of the University? Removal of such places does not come under our responsibility.”
He also advocates that the walls are not broken, and that the thick bushes are “off and on cut down”, but at the same time, confesses that there are hardly any lights there for watchmen to observe suspicious movements from a distance.
PC Ashfaq* counters that the walls are definitely broken in many places which are adjacent to the illegal colony, and the girl could either have just been thrown over the low walls, or someone could have entered from a small broken area and dumped her secretly there.
“How can anyone say that the university, especially at night, is a more or less safe place?” he questions cynically. “What about the countless incidents when there have been student clashes and there has been a supply of outsiders and even weapons, but these have not come in through any of the gates, where checking is strict?” The police say they have hit a blind alley.
“It could have been anyone, because this is only where the body was dumped,” says an officer. “It could be a resident who lives nearby, it could be someone who has selected this place especially. Meanwhile, there has been no deployment of the Rangers here, by the University administration. Nothing has been done to ward off future incidents.”
In another incident last year, a minor had been discovered by a guard in a similar location within the university premises, half alive, with a Dupatta tied tight around her neck. PC Ashfaq*, too on the top of his head quotes an incident where a man’s corpse had been dumped in KU near the boundary wall, a couple of years ago.
Source: The News