By: Sarah Eleazar
LAHORE: The family of two girls allegedly subjected to rape and physical violence in a Pakpattan village on June 29, have accused police of trying to protect the nominated suspects and of pressuring them to withdraw the complaint.
Police say the investigation is progressing on merit and that further action will follow receipt of a post-mortem report.
Asif, a resident of Chak 30-EB, Arifwala, in Pakpattan district, said that on June 29, he and his wife had gone to Kabirwala, a few kilometres away to shop for Eid clothes when they received a call from his paternal nephew at around 4pm.
“He said he could hear screams coming from our house, but couldn’t enter it as it was locked from the inside,” he said.
He said they rushed back and reached home within 15 minutes of receiving the call. The door was locked. They had to break in. He said his wife’s sister Saira, 13, and his daughter Nazia, 14, were lying on the floor covered in blood.
They took them to the Arifwala Tehsil Headquarters Hospital. Saira had been shot in the chest. Doctors at the THQ hospital pronounced her dead. Nazia had been stabbed in the abdomen,” he said.
Rang Shah police recorded her statement at the hospital. “She identified two neighbourhood teenagers as their assailants. She told police that one of them had shot Siara and the other had stabbed her after they had raped them,” Asif said.
The police did not mention the rape charge in the FIR, Asif said. “The suspects have not been interrogated so far. They have obtained pre-arrest bail.
They are now pressuring us to reach a settlement. On July 16, following the bail hearing, their families tried to forced us to settle the matter out-of-court.
Asif said that he believed that his daughter’s life was in danger. He said he had visited the police station on Saturday to request protection, but the SHO had refused to accept his application in this regard and had turned him away.
Investigation Officer Inspector Abid Javed denied the allegations against police. He said that they were investigating the case on merit.
He said the complainant had not initially accused the suspects of rape. He said the family had tried later to insert the charge, apparently, to put pressure on the nominated suspects.
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There was no known enmity between the families of the complainant and the suspects, Javed said. “We have not received the medico-legal report regarding the surviving girl or the post-mortem report of the deceased.
The investigation will proceed further on their receipt,” he said. He said it was likely that they would get the post-mortem report in the coming week.
“The doctor who conducted the initial medical investigation cast doubts on the surviving girl’s account of the incident. The initial investigation leaves room for the possibility of self-suffered or self-inflicted wounds.”
Javed said he had hoped to wrap up the investigation by August 8 – the date set for next hearing of the bail application.
Waqar, a brother of one of the accused, told The Express Tribune that his brother had been at the family’s dera at the time the alleged assault.
“He is innocent.” He said that the family was trying to “settle the matter out of court in an amicable way”. The girls’ family, however, said they did not want a settlement. “We do not have faith in the investigators.”
Sonia Qadir, of the Punjab Commission of Status of Women, said they would look into the matter. “Justice will be served at all cost,” she said.
*Names have been changed to protect identities