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Sonia’s FIR at last

Editorial
To use the phrases “snail’s pace” and “putting the cart before the horse” would make the police’s delay in the Sonia Naz case sound amusing, but it is criminal, whichever way you look at it.

The enquiry report on the gang rape was presented to the Supreme Court more than three weeks ago, but on Monday, Oct. 10, the Court had to order the registration of a first information report — on a crime that took place back in May. The FIR wasn’t registered because SP Khalid Abdullah and SHO Jamshed Chishti and the other suspects are themselves policemen. The police had been far quicker in acting when National Assembly speaker Chaudhry Amir Hussain ordered the arrest of the 23-year-old mother of two for entry into the House in April, in her girlish belief that she could receive help there for the recovery of her missing husband. Perhaps she ought to be grateful to the Speaker for his recent withdrawal of his complaint against her “trespass.” But it was the arrest which led to her two-week rape ordeal. A more cruel irony awaited her last month. The husband for whom she had tried to approach Parliament divorced her, because his sense of honour couldn’t accept the name “Sonia Naz” being splashed in newspaper headlines.

Even if it were not deliberate, the lag would be criminal, no less, in view of the number of high-profile cases of rape and other crimes against women, including “honour killings,” only in the past three years, to use as benchmark the Mukhtaran Mai gang rape in June 2002. With Pakistan’s creaking legal and law-enforcement systems, any delay can automatically go in favour of the criminal, particularly if he has influence. That Mukhtaran and Dr Shazia Khalid are yet to receive justice is sufficient proof of this.

It’s a fine development that at least our courts at the top level have started taking such initiatives. Shaista Almani and Balkh Sher Mehr wouldn’t have had their marriage restored last year if the Sindh High Court hadn’t acted in their favour, and the couple could have been murdered by now.

Source: The News

Date:10/12/2005

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