The 19-year-old girl who went missing on March 15 and was allegedly gang-raped by five employees of the Quaid’s Mausoleum for 36 hours, again went missing after identifying one of the assailants during the identification process on Tuesday night (March 18).
The victim identified the accused, Syed Khadim Hussain Shah, during the identification process at the office of the Resident Engineer, who supervises the employees at the mausoleum.
The girl who, until Tuesday evening, was residing at a shelter home arranged by War Against Rape (WAR) has now gone missing.
The police rejected her testimony by claiming her to be “mentally unstable” after the incident, even though the victim in no way was unprepared or unstable at the time of identification, as observed by The News at the resident engineer’s office.
“I can recognise the men if I see them,” she said as she insisted that the mausoleum’s employees be called at the office for identification which Mohammad Arif, the Resident Engineer of Management, readily agreed to.
The men were called in groups of ten for identification and the process lasted till 11.30 p.m., when she recognised one man.
However, the accused in question has been set free as he is allegedly said to have been employed at the mausoleum on a very high recommendation by the minister for environment, according to reliable sources at WAR. “It is too early to say anything. She identified the wrong man,” the Investigation Officer of the Brigade Police Station, Sabir Hussain, insisted while talking to The News.
It is also learnt from a WAR official, Sarah Zaman, that, after releasing the man, the WAR team was physically forced to leave by Aga Asif Kerbalai, a representative of Jaffria Alliance and a trustee of Shah-e-Khurasan who had been supporting the family with the case and helped them lodge an FIR (50/2008) at the Brigade police station against the mausoleum’s administration.
The physical attack was prompted by the intervention of PPP MPA Shehla Raza, who accused the WAR team of kidnapping the girl, although the WAR team was taking the girl back to the shelter home on a special request by the Investigation Officer.
“The mob attacked the vehicle of the WAR team, dragging the girl out from the back seat, while threatening the WAR members at the same time. All this happened while the police stood there passively and made no efforts to halt the assault,” said Zaman. The WAR officials then left the scene.
Inspector Sabir, however, denied these claims and said the girl has gone to stay with her relatives in Manora along with her father, uncle and husband.
On being questioned about the contact details, he said he did not have the numbers of any. On the other hand, the WAR officials have been receiving calls from the girl’s father, Basheer Ahmed, who claims that his daughter is not with him but at the NGO’s shelter home and insisted that the officials set her free because he has been receiving threats and wished to return to his hometown.
The girl, who was accompanied by her husband and relatives comprising over 20 people, was sexually assaulted at the Quaid’s Masoleum on Saturday evening. Since the victim was not in a condition to narrate her ordeal, her father, Basheer Ahmed provided The News with details of the case.
The family had been visiting the city from their home town in district Lodhran, Punjab, and, after visiting Abdullah Shah Ghazi’s shrine in Karachi on Saturday morning, they headed to Quaid’s mausoleum in the evening. According to Basheer Ahmed, his daughter went missing from outside the resident engineer’s office on Tuesday night, when her husband had stepped out of the mausoleum to bring some relatives inside who had been waiting in a bus.
“My daughter was guarding the shoes of some of our relatives who were inside the museum. There were some others waiting outside, so my son-in-law asked my daughter to wait inside as he went out to get them. Just then, a power outage occurred at the museum, and, when my son-in-law returned, he could not find her,” said Ahmed.
As the family searched for the girl, they asked the mausoleum officials to help them and announce through a microphone that she had gone missing, but they refused to do so as the mausoleum did not have a stand-by generator. “After sending the family back to Lodhran, the girlÂ’s father, uncle and husband stayed back to search for her and they waited outside the museum through the night. The family tried to approach the police to lodge an FIR but their plea went unheard until they were approached by Aga Asif Kerbalai who saw the family waiting outside on Sunday evening.
Khalida of WAR said that Aga Asif then helped the family to register an FIR at the Brigade police station.
A few hours after lodging the FIR on Sunday night, the girl was recovered at 4.00 a.m. on Monday in a semi-conscious state outside the mausoleum from where she was sent for a medico-legal examination.
“The assault has been proved, but, because she is married and also says that she was heavily drugged, there are no signs of resistance as such,” said Khalida.
Although the girl has been stating that she had been raped at a store room in the museum, the police insist that she stated during the FIR that “a man took her from the mausoleum to an unidentified location on a motorbike”.
Moreover, from the police surgeon’s office, the girl was taken by the police (assisted by the WAR team) to the place of the incident inside the Mausoleum where she identified the storage room, which was locked. According to the Resident Engineer, the room had not been in use since February 27, 2008. However, eyewitnesses, who insisted that the room be unlocked, also found evidence which included stained clothes.
Source: The News