Asian Human Rights Commission (AHRC) reports that a 17-year-old girl was abducted by police officials in Faisalabad, who ‘kept’ her for 16 days in ‘private custody’ to extract a murder confession. During that time, her elder sister was also brought into that personal ‘police lockup’ and held naked for three days ‘to pressure the sister to confess to the charges.’
‘On March 14, 2008, one Mr. Faisal son of Sakhawat attacked the house of Mr. Imran, son of Khalid Iqbal. During the exchange of fire Imran was shot and died on the spot. The deceased was the fiancee of victim and on the pursuance of the father the victim was arrested and suffered humiliation, abuse and rape to confess the murder of her own fiancee.’
In other words, two young men had a shooting match, probably over a woman, in which one of them died; the local police responded by arresting the fiance of the dead young man on suspicions of murder; and in order to extract a confession, ran a 16-day torture and sexual abuse campaign that involved everything in the book, and all that was not in it. For sure, Guantanamo Bay prison officials may have some rules to follow and someone to answer to but a private prison run by a Punjab police officer in rural or urban Punjab may not have either.
Labourer Manzoor Ahmad, father of the two victims/survivors, after many unsuccessful attempts to contact ‘higher police officials’ to register a case against the perpetrators, ‘filed an application on July 01, 2008, in the court of Mr. Nadeem Gulzar, the additional session judge, who ordered the police station of Nishatabad to register the case of rape in custody, illegal detention, torture and keeping naked in lockup. However, the district police refused to follow the orders of the session judge. On July 18, the police station filed the case against SI Investigations, Shujat Malhi, under section 376 of criminal procedural code (rape) but not on the other charges which were ordered by the session judge. Until now no one has been arrested and all the perpetrators continue in their duties as usual.’
The AHRC report also cites an earlier case involving the same SI Iinvestigations Shujat Malhi, where when a 21-year-old woman of Jaranwala District was raped by two persons who were arrested but this officer took bribes and then released them. It may sound ironic but he did first ask the woman survivor for the money but was refused.
Raise your voice against this ongoing aggression against women by Punjab Police officers:
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These are not isolated cases. View the Uddari Report on human rights violations in pakistan prepared from the last ten years of ‘Urgent Appeals’ section at AHCR. Countless instances of sexual violence against women in the Punjab are carried out by influential men of an area against the women, children and men of less privileged groups. The power-hungry men who try to disgrace women enjoy privileges that are economic, political, racial, religious and gender-based. These are local landholders, industrialist, religious leaders, government officials, police and army personnel. The ‘less-privileged’ groups include women, racial and religious minority communities, peasants, labourers, the homeless, and human rights and democracy activists.
Most acts of violence committed against women as individuals are being committed by influential men against women who are living in poverty in rural and urban Punjab; and, most crimes committed against women as a population group are committed by religiously-charged men of privileged and non-privileged groups who believe that it is their duty to gain control over womens’ sexuality by forcing them to follow a certain belief system. The truth is, I fail to find a notion more vulgar than this though forwarding the story of Adam and Eve as a serious creation theory comes close.
The AHRC suggests to send letters to Punjab authorities to take action against the police officials of Faisalabad; to urge the authorities to provide protection to women; and, to pay compensation to the victims. Sample letter is online at the AHRC Website, click below:
Send An Appeal Letter