By: Murtaza Ali Shah
LONDON: A Pakistani woman has alleged that she was sexually assaulted during an anti-drone march here a week ago.
The protest on 23 November was organised by Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaaf (PTI) to coincide with the start of anti-drones sit-ins and the blockade of the Nato supplies in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa.
The huge anti-drones protest started from 10 Downing Street and marched till the US Embassy in London. Nearly a thousand Pakistanis including a large number of women had attended the demonstration which called for an immediate end to the drone campaign against Pakistan and asked the US to stop providing any secret assistance to America’s secret war on Pakistan through the use of unmanned drones.
Both the accuser and the accused, who is in his late 20s, are volunteers in the party. The woman, who is in her 30s and cannot be named for legal reasons, has complained that she was sexually assaulted during the march.
Sources within the PTI have said that the allegation is baseless and the activist who has been named in the police complaint is a “decent worker” who was leading the sloganeering on the day of the protest. The police had been told that the accused allegedly touched the woman during the march on the footpath.
The police arrived at the house of the accused on Sunday to arrest him but he was not present at that time. He handed himself in for questioning at the Charing Cross Police station in Central London on Monday afternoon where he was being interviewed at the time of filing of this report. He was being supported by the entire elected body of the PTI who have said that the accused is of “good character”.
The woman confirmed that she had approached the police and registered a complaint. When asked if there are any witnesses to the alleged sexual assault, she said that “such people don’t do nasty stuff in the presence of witnesses.
They pick their targets and the timing carefully”.She confirmed that some people in the party are “against my activism in the party”.She added: “I have recently become very active in the party affairs and that has not been liked by some people within the party. Some people want to create bad impression about me and want to demoralise me. I will fight back and will work for the vision of the party to promote it.
Touching without consent is a criminal offence in this country and must be investigated.”She said that the matter has also been reported to the party and hopes that the party will scrutinise the matter.