FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
February 2, 2009
A Statement by the Asian Human Rights Commission
PAKISTAN: No action taken for the recovery of an 18 year old girl who was raped and kidnapped by the relatives of a minister
An 18-year-old girl, Ms R, of Pathan Mohalla, Mithiani, Tehsil and district Naushahro Feroz, Sindh province, trafficked to a family through marriage, has been raped by her father-in-law and other male members of his family for a period of almost one month. After she managed to escape, a Jirga (illegal court) was held and they ordered that the girl be returned to her parents. However, a second Jirga, conducted by Mr. Noorul Khan Bhurt, nephew of a Provincial Minister on Livestock, ordered that she be returned to her husband and his family on the basis that the girl’s parents had accepted money in exchange for the girl’s marriage. With the order of the second Jirga, the girl was kidnapped on October 21, 2008 and since that date her whereabouts remain unknown. Because of the involvement of the Provincial Minister the police are not taking action against the abduction and continuous rape of the girl. Please refer to our urgent appeal AHRC-UAC-008-2009 (A girl was raped and kidnapped by the relatives of a minister and her whereabouts are unknown).
After the passing of more than three months the Sindh provincial government has not taken any action to recover the girl from the clutches of the relatives of the Minister and his family. The safety and security of, not only Ms. R, but all the people under their jurisdiction is the prime duty of the provincial government. However, instead of living up to this responsibility government is instead protecting the minister and his henchmen. It is also reported that after the issuance of the urgent appeal from the AHRC, the Mithiani police station, whose station house officer was allegedly involved in providing safe passage to the abductors, has contacted the parents of the girl and threatened that if they continued to involve the minister and his nephew they would be arrested on murder charges. As per the details given in the aforementioned UA one of the attackers that raided the house of Ms. R’s family was shot dead.
The Asian Human rights Commission urges provincial government to recover the girl from the abductors and respect her rights provided by the International Covenant on Civil Political Rights (ICCPR), to which Pakistan is signatory. It is obligatory for the government to follow the covenant and protect the life of each and every citizen without discrimination. The government must take stern action against the perpetrators and their henchmen regardless of their positions in the government, their power or their wealth. Pakistan has also ratified the Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination against women (CEDAW) but has avoided implementing the convention in its true spirit. Taking the path of least resistance it is keeping the existing political system running because of the powerful feudal lords and tribal leaders who hold Jirgas against women.