By: NASIR IQBAL
ISLAMABAD: The Supreme Court was informed on Monday that a rape victim who had set herself on fire and later died in a hospital in Punjab was neither medically examined nor a DNA test was carried out.
And a report submitted by Punjab IG Khan Baig further deepened the mystery surrounding the incident and raised questions because it was full of twists and turns.
The report submitted to a three-judge bench headed by Chief Justice Tassaduq Hussain Jillani claimed that three sisters of the deceased deposed during a police inquiry that their father Ghulam Farid had got the rape case registered to misappropriate cattle heads given to him by a brother of the accused Nadir Hussain.
According to the report, Nadir who was released on bail on a report submitted by police claimed that he was not present at the crime scene where the girl had been raped.
The Supreme Court took notice of the death of the first-year student on March 14.
Reports suggest that the 18-year-old girl was returning home on Jan 5 on a motorcycle with her brother after getting some medicines in Bet Mir Hazar area. The accused, along with his four accomplices with their faces covered, stopped the girl in ‘Cheena Mulana Forest’ area and allegedly raped her.
On March 14, the victim, along with her mother and other relatives, went to the Bet Mir Hazar police station, about 40km from Muzaffargarh, to protest against a police report which had helped the alleged rapist to obtain bail.
The girl later set herself ablaze outside the police station. She was taken to Nishtar Hospital in Multan where she succumbed to her injuries. She had suffered 80 per cent burns.
On Monday, the apex court observed that the incident reflected that the girl had lost hope of any justice from police because she was not satisfied with the investigation.
The IG’s report conceded that five witnesses had acknowledged whatever the girl had recorded in her complaint about the incident and the statements of her father and brother Rehmatullah corroborated her version.
The accused took the plea that he had been implicated because of an old enmity. In his statement before police, Nadir deposed that his brother Jaffar Hussain had contracted love marriage with a sister of the victim against the wishes of her parents. His brother also gave some cattle heads to the girl’s father who allegedly usurped them.
Consequently, Jaffar filed a petition in the court of Justice of Peace, Jatoi, on Nov 5 last year for registration of a fraud case against Ghulam Farid, saying that he had been implicated in a concocted case because of grudge.
The statement was endorsed by three sisters of the deceased, Zareena Bibi, Zainab Bibi and Raheela Tabassum, who joined the investigation.
Sakeena Bibi, an aunt of the deceased, also claimed that the case was false.
Investigation officer Sub-Inspector Zulfikar Ali declared the accused innocent on the grounds that no marks of resistance were found at the place where the girl had been allegedly raped, though in his report he admitted that he had found three buttons of the girl’s shirt at the place and taken them into possession vide recovery memo of Jan 5. Besides, it was also beyond logic that four accused came on one motorcycle to abduct the girl.
The investigation officer also said that the place of occurrence was situated near a road which was a common thoroughfare. The complainant had a grudge against love marriage of her sister and the petition was still pending before the court of Justice of Peace against her father, he added. Moreover, he said in his report that on the day of the incident accused Nadir was found to be in Jatoi from 11 to 12.30pm which was verified from notables of the area.
According to the IG’s report, four police officers — SDPO/DSP Sadar Circle Asghar Ali, Bet Mir Hazar police station SHO Shahid Hussain, SI Ghulam Idrees and investigation officer Zulfikar Ali — have been suspended for misconduct and inefficiency. Besides, a case was registered against them on March 15.
D.G. Khan Regional Police Officer Abdul Qadir Qayyum has been made an officer on special duty whereas District Police Officer Usman Akram Gondal has been transferred. An inquiry committee has also been constituted under Additional Inspector General Khaliq Dad Lak.
But the court directed that two more senior officers be included in the committee and the inquiry be completed in 10 days.