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Muzaffargarh woman stripped, not raped, SC told

Muzaffargarh woman stripped, not raped, SC told

By: Hasnaat Malik

ISLAMABAD: Submitting a two-page report on a controversial dispute settlement by a panchayat (village council) in south Punjab, the police told the Supreme Court that the 45-year-old victim claims that she was stripped and humiliated, but not raped.

A three-member bench of the apex court, headed by Chief Justice Tassadduq Hussain Jillani, heard the suo motu case regarding the incident in which a panchayat allegedly ordered the gang-rape of F, in revenge for her brother’s alleged affair in the Mauza Rakh Tibba Sharqi area near Muzaffargarh.

The incident caused outrage, after which nine out of the 10 accused were arrested.

During Tuesday’s hearing, the police,in its report,informed the court that statements of all witnesses were recorded and they had corroborated the statement of the victim, F.

District Police Officer (DPO) Muzaffargarh Usman Akram Gondal submitted the two-page report, made available to The Express Tribune.

According to the document, the victim recorded her statement on January 29, stating that she, along with her brother Allah Bakhsh, rushed to Abdul Majeed’s house on the morning of January 24 when she found out that Abdul Majeed had locked her brother, Amjad, in a room.

The men named as the accused were also standing outside the room. One of them, Rahim Bakhsh, claimed that Ajmal has illicit relations with his daughter, Ruqaia, and they will ‘avenge dishonour with dishonour’. After sometime, two more persons, Muhammad Nawaz and Saeed Ahmad, came to the scene and started counselling for compromise.

F and her brother took Ajmal back to their house, but later, Muhammad Nawaz and Saeed Ahmad came over and forcibly took her back to Abdul Majeed’s house where they confined her in a room with Ruqaia’s brother, GhulamYasin.

She told the police that Yasinstripped her and tried to rape her, but she begged for pardon. He let her go and took her out of the room, after which Saeed Ahmed covered her with cloth. Therefore, F claims that she was humiliated, but not gang-raped.

The police report states that an FIR No. 36/14 has been registered against the accused.

During the court’s proceedings, the police also submitted the victim’s medical report, which suggests that there were no marks of injury or force.

Out of the ten accused, nine have been arrested and all of them were produced before the magistrate. One of them was granted a pre-arrest bail until February 6, while the remaining eight were sent to judicial remand.

The police told the Supreme Court that they would submit their final reportafter getting the DNA results from Chemical Examiner, Multan, and Punjab Forensic Science Agency, Lahore.

However, the court questioned as to why the Inspector General Punjab (IGP) did not submit the investigation report despite court’s orders. The bench directed the IGP to appear in person and submit a comprehensive report regarding this incident within ten days and adjourned the hearing until February 17.

Khuzdar mass grave case

Separately on Tuesday, the Supreme Court was informed that the Balochistan government had constituted a commission, headed by Balochistan High Court’s Justice Muhammad Noor Meskanzai, to probe the grisly discovery of a mass grave in Khudzar, and submit a report within one month.

The Balochistan home secretary submitted a compliance report before the three-member bench, headed by Chief Justice Tassadduq Hussain Jillani, regarding the court’s February 1 suo motu notice about the recovery of bodies in Khuzdar.

He submitted that the provincial government has appointed BHC judge Justice Muhammad Noor Meskanzai as the Tribunal of Inquiry under Balochistan Tribunals of Inquiry Ordinance, 1969, to conduct the probe.

Narrating the facts about the incident, the report says that on January 17, a shepherd from the Totak area approached the Deputy Commissioner Khuzdar and informed him of vultures and crows hovering over a particular area, where he thought bodies were buried under heaps of stones and mud.

“The Deputy Commissioner, Khuzdar, along with Levies and the FC approached the area. The suspected places were dug out and two dead bodies were recovered. The other places were also marked for the digging operation a day later.

On next day, 11 bodies were found.

The report also says that the provincial government constituted a special medical board, comprising senior doctors of the health department, to carry out post-mortem examinations. The board collected necessary samples to determine the cause of death and obtained tissues for DNA. The samples have been sent to the lab.

Meanwhile, the report stated that two bodies have been identified, one as Qadir Bakhsh of Peer Andar, district Awaran, and the other is Naseer Ahmed also from the same area. The dead bodies were handed over to the heirs after legal formalities were fulfilled.

The hearing of the case is adjourned until March 7.

Express Tribune

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