By Imran Ayub
KARACHI: An 18-year-old woman, who was allegedly abducted and gang-raped while she was visiting the Quaid-i-Azam mausoleum with her family in March 2008, identified three accused facing trial in a district and sessions court on Wednesday.
The victim appeared in court with Deputy Speaker of the Sindh Assembly Shahla Raza for the first time after receiving a bailable arrest warrant from the court, as she was earlier said to be avoiding pursuing the case for unexplained reasons.
In her statement, she identified the three accused who had subjected her to sexual assault after kidnapping her on the night of March 15 and left her abandoned in an unstable condition at a gate of the mausoleum on March 17.
An FIR (50/2008) of the case was registered at the Brigade police station under Section 365-B of the Pakistan Penal Code (the section was inserted through the Protection of Women Act 2006) on the complaint of her father. She repeated her previous statement alleging that the three had committed the crime.
The charge-sheet stated that the 18-year-old woman from Lodhran, accompanied by her relatives, came to Karachi on March 15. They paid a visit to the mausoleum of the Quaid-i-Azam in the evening. The couple went inside earlier than the other family members.
However, the moment her husband left to bring in the remaining family members, who were waiting outside in a bus, a power breakdown occurred and the woman was kidnapped by the assistant security manager of the mausoleum and his associates. She was taken to a room where she was forced to drink liquor before she was sexually assaulted. She was later found in an unstable condition outside the mausoleum.
An assistant manager of the mausoleum’s security staff was arrested on March 20 for his alleged involvement in the case. A few days later, an accountant of the Quaid-i-Azam Mazar Management Board and the PA to its resident engineer were also booked as suspects following the receipt of the DNA report that confirmed their involvement in the gang-rape.
All the accused have been remanded in judicial custody.
The defence counsel cross-examined the victim while she was recording her statement and asked her to identify different pieces of cloth, found at the scene of the crime.
Later, the court adjourned the hearing of the case till Feb 17.
Outside the courtroom, Deputy Speaker Shahla Raza told newsmen that she had received instructions from President Asif Ali Zardari to help the victim until she got justice.
“The government will pursue cases of this and other victims of such a crime so no one can pressurise them and deprive them of justice,” she added.