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Sonia demands case against ‘tormentors’: Claims possessing evidentiary cassette

LAHORE, September 03 2005: Sonia Naz, the alleged rape victim of some Faisalabad police officials, on Friday September 2 joined a high-level inquiry committee and filed an application for registration of an abduction-cum-rape case.

Sonia, the mother of two, made her first public appearance in the company of Asma Jehangir of the HRCP after she levelled the rape charges against the policemen a few days ago.

“We have recorded her statement and received a written application from her to further proceed in the case,” a member of the probe committee, SP Saad Bharwana, told Dawn.

The law required the statement to be turned into registration of a case on the charges against the accused, the SP said on behalf of the committee constituted by Punjab IGP Ziaul Hassan. He said the woman had reposed confidence in the committee by making her appearance before it, which she has been earlier denying. “We will ensure justice for her.”

The SP said the application had been referred to the Sattukatla police.

The alleged rape victim dramatically appeared at the office of Ms Jehangir, who was later joined by the probe committee members.

Ms Jehangir said the police were reluctant to register the case, which was violation of fundamental rights of the victim. “We will take all possible legal measures if the police will not register the case,” Ms Shahtaj of the HRCP quoted Asma Jehangir as saying.

The victim said in her statement that on May 3 she had just left her Jauhar Town house when four men held her up and bundled her in a car. She said the gunmen, who had blindfolded her, stopped the car after around four-hour drive and took her to a room when they removed black strip from her eyes.

After a detention of five or six days, the victim said Faisalabad investigation police SP Khalid Abdullah came there and tortured her. “He hit my shoe on my face and said he would continue to beat me for filing a petition.”

She alleged that the SP tore her clothes and tried to rape her. On failure, she added, the SP ordered his two men to rape her. One of them whom she had seen in a court was SHO Jamshed Chishti, who raped her.

Sonia said the police kept her detained for 10 or 12 days more after the rape and then dropped her near Thokhar Niaz Baig in Lahore, threatening her with dire consequences if she moved any court against them.

Prior to going with Ms Asma, the victim was living at the Crises Centre for Women in Distress, said its official Amna Ulfat. She said she did not know why Ms Jehangir took the victim along when her centre was giving maximum security and other facilities to the victim.

After recording her statement, the victim was driven to an unknown place by a police squad. “We have given her a full security cover. She is free to move or live wherever she wants,” the SP said.

Our Faisalabad correspondent adds: The record related to the inquiry of the rape case and motor registration scandal by DIG Zafar-led team reveals that Asim Yousaf remained in the custody of police for a couple of weeks and was interrogated by inspector Jamshed Iqbal Chishti and others.

Sources said Asim’s wife Sonia claimed that she had an audio cassette containing her talks with excise inspectors Qastoori Lal and Abdul Rehman, and junior clerks Rana Afzal Asif, Rana Yaqoob and Muhammad Adrees all of who have stated that Asim was taken into custody by the police in their presence.

“We along with Asim and some senior officials were quizzed many times by the police officials in the presence of SP Abdullah Khalid,” she quoted the officials as saying and promised to provide the cassette to the inquiry team.

SP Abdullah, who has been posted OSD after Sonia charged her with patronizing her rape, however, denied before the Lahore High Court and in his statement recorded by the inquiry team that he had arrested Asim.

According to information gleaned by Dawn, Sonia presented the audio cassettee along with a writ petition No 7227/05 filed by her in May before the LHC.

Sonia had requested the court to direct the excise officials to record their statements in court or appoint a commission for recording the statements of the excise employees whose names figured in the audio tape.

Source: Daily Times