PAKISTAN: A woman health worker raped and forced by police to withdraw her complaint‏

ASIAN HUMAN RIGHTS COMMISSION – URGENT APPEALS PROGRAMME
Urgent Appeal Update: AHRC-UAC-048-2011
28 February 2011

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ISSUES: Rape; violence against women; impunity; rule of law

Dear friends,

The Asian Human Rights Commission (AHRC) has received information that a lady health worker, a government employee, was raped by a notorious gangster with the help of two police informers. The First Information Report (FIR), a criminal case for legal proceedings was lodged by the police intentionally after five days of the attack in order to destroy the evidence. The police, instead of filing a rape case, filed a case of attempted rape so that perpetrators could not be tried for committing the heinous crime. The high raking police officers of the concerned district are coercing the victim to settle the case with perpetrators.

The alleged rapist was arrested for attempted rape but the police informers, who restrained the woman and who had beaten her during the rape, are enjoying the protection of the police.

CASE NARRATIVE:
Rehana Malik, 30, a lady health worker at Civil Hospital, Digri town, Mirpurkhas district, Sindh province, also an employee of the health department of the government of Sindh, was raped in her house while her husband was out for his daily job. On December 9, 2010 at 8 pm three police informers and gangsters entered her house, locked her children in a room and one gangster, Gulzar Arain, who is known to run a drug den, overpowered and raped the victim with the help of two police informers, Shahid Jat and Shoukat Jat. The attackers also injured her during the rape and stole Rs. 85,000. (USD 1000) and jewelry of the same amount. The perpetrator, Arian raped her while the two accomplices held her hands and legs for the rape. After the rape the attackers threatened her that if she went to the police she would be raped in an open place.

However, after the incident she went to Digri police station at 9.30 pm where she was told by the station house officer (SHO), Mr. Zulfiqar Khoso that as it was night nobody could record her statement and to come back the next day. She returned and spent the whole next day trying to file her report but in the evening was told that she should go back to home and the police station would send someone to see her. In the meanwhile news of the rape was reported in the media. The police telephoned her to come to the house of Haji, an influential person of the town. There she found that police officials were also present. Haji and police officials pressured her to accept Rs. 10,000 (USD117) as compensation which she refused. One of the police officials, Munawar, the assistant sub inspector (ASI) took her signature on a plain paper forcefully saying he would make an application on her behalf. She asked the police officials to file a case of rape so that she could have a medical report.

It was only after five days of her rape, on December 13, that the FIR was filed. However, the FIR only mentioned that it had been an attempted rape. The report that Rehana had made mentioned that the accused person, Arain, actually raped her but this version was rejected by the SHO. The police cleverly deleted the names of the two other police informers from the FIR. She was given permission to have her medical checkup but as per their intention, any evidence of the assault had then been lost. On December 14, the SHO of Digri police station visited her house and pressured her to withdraw the case of rape against the perpetrators otherwise she would face problems for her family. On January 21, 2011, a human right activist, Hasrat Leghari, had written an application on behalf her to the Chief Justice of Pakistan, the president, the prime minister and other authorities. On February 22, she was asked to come to police station and record her statement. But once again the police refused to take her statement and created their own. In the meantime the accused person, Arain, was arrested on the charges of attempt to rape her but the two police informers were not arrested. An application from the victim was moved to the Session Court of Mirpurkhas district that the police were providing protection to the perpetrators. On receiving her application the session judge rejected the bail application of the accused person.

On February 26, Mr. Zulfiqar Mehar, the district police officer (DPO), the highest police officer of the district, also tried to coerce her to withdraw the case and said she would not get any positive response in the case. He further told her that the perpetrators would take revenge against her in the future.

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ADDITIONAL INFORMATION:
Mrs. Rehana was working as health officer in Digri town at civil hospital since 2006 and has become popular in the neighbourhood for her work. Gulzar Arain, the gangster and police informer had been stalking her since 2009 whenever she went out for field work. He demanded that she have sex with him otherwise she would face dire consequences. On November 22 the accused person came to her house in the absence of her husband along with the two police informers, Shoukat and Shahid, and threatened that if she did not agree to have sex with him he would come and rape her so that she could not be able to show her face to the people. She reported this to the police but in typical fashion the police told her to come back if and when the crime was committed as before that they could not go against him.

Her husband is a labourer and has to go to another town for his job.

SUGGESTED ACTION:
Please write letter to the authorities to take action against the police officials of Digri town and the district police officer (DPO) of Mirpurkhas district for providing protection to the perpetrators of the rape. Also urge them to provide protection to the victim and her family and prosecute the perpetrators.

The AHRC is writing a separate letter to the UN Special Rapporteur on the Question of violence against women calling for his intervention into this matter.

To support this appeal, please click here:

SAMPLE LETTER:

Dear ___________,

PAKISTAN: A lady health worker raped and forced by police to withdraw her complaint

Name of victim: Mrs. Rehana Malik, wife of Gulhassan, a lady health worker, resident of Digri town, district Mirpurkhas, Sindh province

Names of alleged perpetrators:
1. Mr. Gulzar Arain, police informer and gangster, resident of Goth Ganga Ram (goth Bagan wali), Digri, Sindh province
2. Mr. Shaukat Jat, police informer, Resident of Goth Ganga Ram (goth Bagan wali), Digri, Sindh province
3. Mr. Shahid Jat, police informer, Resident of Goth Ganga Ram (goth Bagan wali), Digri, Sindh province
4. Assistant Sub Inspector, Munawar, Digri police station, Digri town, Sindh province
5. Sub-Inspector Zulfiqar Khoso, Station Headquarter Officer (SHO), Digri police station, Digri town, Sindh province
6. Mr. Zulfiqar Mehar, District Police Officer (DPO), Mirpurkhas, Sindh province

Date of incident: 9 December 2010
Place of incident: Digri town, Mirpurkhas district, Sindh province

I am writing to voice my deep concern regarding the rape of a lady health worker by a police informer and his accomplices and the support that the police are providing to the perpetrators.

I am appalled to know that a lady health worker of government of Sindh was raped by the police informer and gangsters but police have taken no action and not a single man was arrested on the rape charges. The two accomplices of the accused person are free and threatening the victim. The high police officials including DPO are using their official positions to influence the victim to withdraw her case against the perpetrators. This is very shameful act by the police whose duty is to protect the citizens from crime.

Rehana Malik, 30, a lady health worker at Civil Hospital, Digri town, Mirpurkhas district, Sindh province, also an employee of the health department of the government of Sindh, was raped in her house while her husband was out for his daily job. On December 9, 2010 at 8 pm three police informers and gangsters entered her house, locked her children in a room and one gangster, Gulzar Arain, who is known to run a drug den, overpowered and raped the victim with the help of two police informers, Shahid Jat and Shoukat Jat. The attackers also injured her during the rape and stole Rs. 85,000. (USD 1000) and jewelry of the same amount. The perpetrator, Arian raped her while the two accomplices held her hands and legs for the rape. After the rape the attackers threatened her that if she went to the police she would be raped in an open place.

However, after the incident she went to Digri police station at 9.30 pm where she was told by the station house officer (SHO), Mr. Zulfiqar Khoso that as it was night nobody could record her statement and to come back the next day. She returned and spent the whole next day trying to file her report but in the evening was told that she should go back to home and the police station would send someone to see her. In the meanwhile news of the rape was reported in the media. The police telephoned her to come the house of Haji, an influential person of the town. There she found that police officials were also present. Haji and police officials pressured her to accept Rs. 10,000 (USD117) as compensation which she refused. One of the police officials, Munawar, the assistant sub inspector (ASI) took her signature on a plain paper forcefully saying he would make an application on her behalf. She asked the police officials to file a case of rape so that she could have a medical report.

It was only after five days of her rape, on December 13, that the FIR was filed. However, the FIR only mentioned that it had been an attempted rape. The report that Rehana had made mentioned that the accused person, Arain, actually raped her but this version was rejected by the SHO. The police cleverly deleted the names of the two other police informers from the FIR. She was given permission to have her medical checkup but as per their intention, any evidence of the assault had then been lost. On December 14, the SHO of Digri police station visited her house and pressured her to withdraw the case of rape against the perpetrators otherwise she would face problems for her family. On January 21, 2011, a human right activist, Hasrat Leghari, had written an application on behalf her to the Chief Justice of Pakistan, the president, the prime minister and other authorities. On February 22, she was asked to come to police station and record her statement. But once again the police refused to take her statement and created their own. In the meantime the accused person, Arain, was arrested on the charges of attempt to rape her but the two police informers were not arrested. An application from the victim was moved to the Session Court of Mirpurkhas district that the police were providing protection to the perpetrators. On receiving her application the session judge rejected the bail application of the accused person.

On February 26, Mr. Zulfiqar Mehar, the district police officer (DPO), the highest police officer of the district, also tried to coerce her to withdraw the case and said she would not get any positive response in the case. He further told her that the perpetrators would take revenge against her in the future.

I am shocked to know that police are turning the case into attempt to rape just to save the police informer and drug peddlers. These types of crimes are happening daily in Pakistan because there is no effort from the government to make reforms in the policing system and make it accountable in the law. The police find it easy to manipulate the cases in their own favour to save perpetrators.

I urge you to prosecute all the police officials who are turning the case of rape in to attempt to murder and threatening victim to take back her case. Please also provide security and protection to the victim and her family and also register a case of rape against the perpetrators.

Yours sincerely,

—————-
PLEASE SEND YOUR LETTERS TO:

1. Mr. Asif Ali Zardari
President of Pakistan
President’s Secretariat
Islamabad
PAKISTAN
Tel: +92 51 9204801/9214171
Fax: +92 51 9207458
Email: publicmail@president.gov.pk

2. Mr. Syed Yousaf Raza Gilani
Prime Minister of Pakistan
Prime Minister House
Islamabad
PAKISTAN
Fax: + 92 51 9221596
E-mail: secretary@cabinet.gov.pk

3. Syed Qaim Ali Shah
Chief Minister
Karachi, Sindh Province
PAKISTAN
Fax: +92 21 920 2000
E-mail: pppsindh@yahoo.com

4. Mr. Syed Mumtaz Alam Gillani
Federal Minister for Human Rights
Ministry of Human Rights
Old US Aid building
Ata Turk Avenue
G-5, Islamabad
PAKISTAN
Fax: +9251-9204108
Email: sarfaraz_yousuf@yahoo.com

5. Mr. Muhammad Ayaz Soomro
Minister for Law, Parliamentary Affairs & Criminal Prosecution Service
Sindh Assembly Building,
Court road, Karachi, Sindh province
PAKISTAN
Fax: +92 21 9211982
E-mail: secy.law@sindh.gov.pk

6. Chief Justice of Sindh High Court
High Court Building
Saddar, Karachi
Sindh Province
PAKISTAN
Fax: +92 21 9213220
E-mail: info@sindhhighcourt.gov.pk

7. Ms. Nadia Gabol
Minister for Human Rights
Government of Sindh,
Pakistan secretariat, Barrack 92,
Karachi, Sindh Province
PAKISTAN
Fax: +92 21 9207044
Tel: +92 21 9207043 +92 21 9207043 +92 21 9207043 +92 21 9207043 +92 21 9207043 +92 21 9207043 +92 21 9207043 +92 21 9207043
E-mail: lukshmil@yahoo.com

8. Dr. Faqir Hussain
Registrar
Supreme Court of Pakistan
Constitution Avenue, Islamabad
PAKISTAN
Fax: + 92 51 9213452
E-mail: mail@supremecourt.gov.pk

9. Inspector General of Police
Police Head office, I. I. Chundrigar road
Karachi, Sindh Province
PAKISTAN
Fax: +92 21 9212051
E-mail: ppo.sindh@sindhpolice.gov.pk

Thank you.

Urgent Appeals Programme
Asian Human Rights Commission (ua@ahrc.asia)

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.

‘Violence Against Women’? No! GENDER-CIDE in Pakistan!

By Fauzia Rafiq

I write this as tears unstoppable, fall from my eyes. The mourning for the five women buried alive in Balochistan was hardly over when the news came late last night that three more women were buried alive for speaking against the atrocities done earlier to Bibi Jannat, Bibi Fatmah, Bibi Fauzia, Bibi Benaam1 and Bibi Benaam2 in July of this year. Though we say Five, the sources suspect the women buried alive in July 2008 were Seven; this makes it Eight or Ten.

Though i do, but right now i am not crying for Three Five Eight or Ten women. I am crying for uncountable number of women killed for honour and revenge in Pakistan since the Eighties. But just to keep my feet on the ground, here is the approximate exact number for the last Six months: 225 for ‘honour’ and 722 for ‘no-honour’ = 947 or Nine Hundred and Forty Seven Only.

But wait, these are stats collected by Aurat Foundation, a non-profit organization that can not reach each neighborhood and each village of the country. The researchers would have had to rely on police records and government statistics, and in both these areas the numbers are known to NOT reflect the reality of the reference. Pakistan Human Rights Commission (PHRC), Asian Human rights Commission (AHRC), and women’s direct service and advocacy organizations show many complaints in their service registers about the police not registering the cases in these matters.

In Pakistan, some say, read it three times the number. Shall we read it 2841 instead of 947 then? That’s too much. Lets just double the number instead of tripling it: 1894 in 6 months. From January to June 2008. However, counting and numbers fast become irrelevant at times when what is happening to women in a country can no more be defined as ‘honour killings’, ‘domestic violence’, ‘wife assault’ or ‘violence against women’. It’s gender-cide.

This gender-cide began in Pakistan in the Eighties with the implementation of Muslim Sharia Laws, and has continued through the Nineties as Muslim extremists have flourished to gain commanding political ground in Punjab, Balochistan and the NWFP. Now reaching a level of urgency in 2008, it puts the largest majority of Pakistani women at the direct risk of sexual violence, torture and death. The ones most vulnerable are in rural and tribal areas where the terrifying control exercised by local influential men is protected by religion, law and the gun with zero tolerance for dissent.

The majority of women living in rural and tribal areas are at risk more than ever because though women were being killed and exploited for revenge, family honor, watta-satta, karo-kari and other similar social and cultural constructs, it was never as often, as brutal and as much as it is now with the blanket protection provided by Islamic laws, edicts and notions. For the reader who does not see the connection: a society that by law requires women survivors of rape, for example, to produce four Muslim male eyewitnesses of upright character to prove or even to register the case against the rapists, is setting women up for increased instances of rape, sexual violence, honour killings and murders.

So, at any pressure point in the life of a woman or in the life of her family or community, she will be the first casuality of justice, likely with no possibility of help from outside the room, home or village.

The case of Five Baloch Women Buried Alive this July, signifies the cruelty, cold-bloodedness and the absolute control enjoyed by the perpetrators in a situation of ‘family’ interaction. Not only that, it reveals the nature of deadly silences and conspiracies that involve such acts of inhuman violence carried out against unarmed women; and, we are not even certain of the number or the names of the individuals who died there.

In a village called Mirwah in Balochistan, two young sister and a friend studied in the nearby high school. As are the customs, they were likely ‘given’ or ‘taken’ by another relative/s for their sons from childhood. The three young women Benaam 1 (16-18), Benaam 2 (16-18) and Fauzia (18) did not want to marry where their ‘families’ wanted them to. They discussed this matter with two older relatives Fatmah (45) and Jannat (38); the matter was taken to the family elders or Jirga that went on to rule against the wishes of the three young women.

The three young women, however, were strong in their resolve to stand up to the unjust authoritarianism dished out to women by elders/jirgas. With support of Jannat and Fatmah, they went to the nearby city to contract civil marriages.

At this point, they were abducted by a group of armed men in a government vehicle and brought to another small village in the desert. The abductors included the fathers, brothers, uncles and cousins of five women, and some local political goons. Reports say that the men hit and shot the three young women, and then began to bury them while they were still alive.

Fatmah and Jannat tried to stop them, and were also shot and hurled into the ground alive.

This happened in the second week of July but we came to know of it at the end of August when Baloch Senator Yasmeen Shah with help from some courageous journalists, brought it out in the open. The alive burials of women were defended in the Senate; and, the extensive cover up and silencing that was underway was shamefacedly perfected by the provincial and federal power brokers.

Pressure from rights activists and women’s groups pushed Pakistan People Party (PPP) to take a stand amidst a power-balancing act as it took over the government. Leaders of women’s groups in Pakistan held a nation-wide consultation and released a statement of action titled Declaration on Burying Women Alive/Killing of Women in the Name of “Honour” and other Customary Practices issued by Joint Action Committees (JACs), Women’s Action Forums (WAF chapters), Insani Haqooq Itehad (IHI) and Violence Against Women Watch Groups. The Supreme Court of Pakistan took sou motu notice. The newly instituted government of the PPP responded as if it was going to do something about it but nothing has really been done. A post by the Karachi Committee of Communist Workers & Peasants Party (CMKP), an association of five workers peasants and women’s organizations, says:
‘We feel that the issue regarding the atrocities meted out to five Baloch women who were buried alive on the orders of a tribal jirga not too long ago is being side-tracked, just like other similar issues before this one.’
Protest against atrocities meted out to five women buried alive

And then the news last night!
Three older women were also buried alive in July for demanding basic human rights for women in Pakistan. They were from the same village: Mirwah.
They were buried alive at the same place: Babakot.

Death anywhere
but when i die
bury me in Babakot
so that i can become a part
of the sand
that layered the bleeding flesh
of my sisters

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First published at Uddari Weblog

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ManzooraN Bibi Kidnapped, Raped and Hanged

By Imran Mazher

OKARA, Pakistan: Unidentified persons abducted a mother of five when she was collecting wood in the fields, and hanged her after tying her up with ropes.

The police has taken ManzooraN Bibi’s body in custody, and it has been sent to the DHQ Hospital Okara for post mortem.

The source said that Manzooran Bibi went out of the house to collected wood but did not return till evening. Her family started searching for her, and found her body near the graveyard.

Sexual violence is suspected.

A murder case has been registered by the Police.

Source:
Ferhan Mazher
Rays of Development Organization
Sargodha, Pakistan