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Schoolgirl seeks justice, calls for arrest of rapists

LARKANA, Feb 2: A 13-year-old schoolgirl belonging to the Mehar taluka of Dadu has accused four people of abducting and raping her.

The girl, Kainat Soomro, and members of her family told reporters outside the Larkana Press Club on Friday that police were reluctant to arrest the culprits who, they alleged, were being supported by some members of the ruling party.

She said it was only after her father, a driver by profession, had approached the Human Rights Commission of Pakistan (HRCP) and the chairman Senate that the Mehar police station registered an FIR against Shahban Shaikh, Naomi alias Ihsan Thebo, Roshan and Kalimullah Thebo under sections 10/47HO, 363, 344, 337-J of the PPC on January 19.

Narrating her ordeal, Kainat said that on January 10 she had gone to the shop of Shahban Shaikh near her home to purchase some items. She alleged that Shahban threw something at her which rendered her unconscious. Later, he and the other three men took turns to rape her and then shifted her to a place while she was unconscious, she said.

Kainat, a student of class VIII, said the four accused had threatened to kill her if she said anything against them. Then, she added, she was taken to a place in Hyderabad where they forced her to record a statement while she was unwell.

She was later moved to Kotri where the four men, she alleged, raped her again.

She said she managed to escape from the place late in the night and reached her home in Mehar.

Her father Ghulam Nabi Soomro said that she was a minor girl, but the accused wanted to give a wrong impression about her age to escape punishment. He said due to the threats he had been receiving, he was forced to lock his home in Mehar.

The girl had sent letters to the presidents of press clubs across the province, calling upon them to help her get justice. She said: “When Mukhtaraan Mai can get justice, why can’t I”.

Acting on the request of the girl’s father, the complaint cell of the Senate wrote a letter to the IGP Sindh on January 25, requesting him to depute an honest and impartial officer to investigate the case and ensure justice.

Copies of the letter were sent to Kainat and also to the DPO Dadu.

The HRCP also wrote to the DPO Dadu and called for an inquiry.

“We shall be obliged if you let us know the developments in this regard,” wrote the in-charge of the HRCP compliant cell.

Meanwhile, the girl and members of her family observed a token hunger strike outside the press club. They were led by Sabir Soomro, chief organiser of the Soomra Association Larkana.

Calling for immediate arrest of the culprits, the association appealed to the governor, the chief minister, the IGP and other officials to ensure justice.

Source: Dawn

Date:2/3/2007

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