PESHAWAR: An alleged rape victim hailing from Nowshera, the native district of chief minister, here on Tuesday narrated her ordeal to register an FIR at a station of the ‘model’ police of the province and demanded arrest of the culprits.

Working as a lady health worker for the last 14 years and a resident of Balo village of Nowshera, the woman told a news conference at Peshawar Press Club that police first delayed registration of FIR in the case and then destroyed evidence. She had been in mental distress for the last four months to get FIR of her rape registered, she added.

“I was beaten and raped by two men on the night of August 28 but police did not register FIR,” said the victim, a mother of three, who had covered her face with a brown shawl.

Nowshera DPO Wahid Mehmood, when contacted to get his version about the allegations of the woman, said that she was just trying to become ‘Mukhtaran Mai’. One of the suspects was the tenant of the family and the official said that the suspect claimed that he was having a money dispute with the family.

Nowshera DPO says the woman is trying to become ‘Mukhtaran Mai’

However, the victim claimed that it was not just a robbery as she was raped by two of the intruders. She also named their tenant in the FIR, registered on Sept 17 against the suspects and said that the intruders were calling themselves policemen.

She said that they knocked at the door and once her husband opened the door, the armed men barged in. “Two of the men were wearing police uniforms and were holding machineguns. The other three in civilian clothes had pistols,” said the victim.

She said that her family members were tied up and beaten. The men looted the house and then assaulted her in another room, she added.

The victim said that she took her clothes and the shawl having semen of the alleged rapists on it to the police early in the morning so that FIR could be registered and she could be referred for medical examination but to her dismay the SHO of Akbarpura police station took the clothes and did nothing to register FIR or investigate the case.

Instead when FIR was registered on Sept 17, days after the incident, there was no mention of the rape. FIR had charged the tenant and his accomplices of theft and having a dispute with the victim’s family over money.

On the other hand, the Nowshera DPO said that the woman’s husband did not report the rape first but after 20 days the woman came to for press rape charges. The official also said that the woman refused to give to police her clothes as evidence. She also refused medical examination, he said, adding that the sections of Pakistan Penal Code related to rape had been included in the FIR. However, he said that the woman was even not willing to appear before a magistrate for recording her statement.

The woman said that the last four months had been hell for her as she had been trying to contact the police high-ups to charge the culprits. She said that on the directives of IGP, rape was included in the FIR but police weakened her case by destroying the evidence and delaying registration of FIR.

She complained that police department itself denied her justice by not lodging FIR when she was assaulted on August 28. She said that after correction in the FIR, their tenant was arrested but his accomplices were still at large. She said that she would not rest until the alleged rapists were arrested and punished.

Her husband said that he came with her to the press conference because he never wanted any other woman to go through what his wife had been through. He said that was a daily wager.

The victim said that she took the extreme step of holding a press conference to demand justice but feared for her job. She said that she did not get any support from health department rather she feared that they might fire her for speaking up for her rights.

The victim, who made it to the press conference with the support of some civil society activists, also visited the office of Provincial Commission on the Status of Women, which promised to hold a fact-finding inquiry into the incident. The civil society members also filed her complaint with the Human Rights Directorate.

“If a woman is not safe in her home, how could we call it change? I was raped and the men still have not been arrested. I did not get Insaf (justice),” said the teary-eyed woman as her husband listened silently .Their child knowing nothing of what his parents were going through was playing nearby.

Published in Dawn, December 23rd, 2015