A resident of Azad Jammu and Kashmir (AJK) on Wednesday appeared before the Senate's Standing Committee on Human Rights to appeal for justice after alleging that she was repeatedly subjected to grievous sexual assault by family members before being forced into exile from her community.
A* had been called to the meeting of the Senate's committee after lawmakers decided to hear an open petition filed by her.
Narrating her ordeal, A* told the committee that a nephew of her husband, along with his accomplices, raped her and recorded a video of the assault. She named several friends of the nephew who, according to her, participated in the assault.
According to the victim, the abuse continued as she was later blackmailed on the basis of that video. She said the accused even kidnapped her son for ransom, which she was forced to pay.
"Despite paying hundreds of thousands of rupees, the blackmailing continued," she told the lawmakers, adding that she had attempted to commit suicide after informing her husband about the entire situation, but was saved by her spouse.
The victim claimed that she was also kidnapped along with her son and an assistant sub-inspector along with others also assaulted her on a separate occasion.
A* said that the issue was then taken up by the elders of her family and referred to a local panchayat (a traditional court or jirga). The family was subsequently forced by the panchayat to enter into an agreement that led to them being exiled, she said.
"AJK police did not provide justice to us and the Pakistan government also seems unable to do so," she pleaded.
The victim's husband, who was accompanying her, stated that his wife had been subjected to these assaults for seven consecutive months.
In response, Senator Nasreen Jalil said the committee would not be able to take direct action in this regard as issuing punishment to anyone was beyond the mandate of the Senate body.
Jalil, however, said the committee would write a letter to the AJK president, asking him to take action regarding the case.
The senator added that the committee would take Senate Chairman Raza Rabbani on board to find out whether the committee could take any step in this regard or not.
The director general of Human Rights Commission has confirmed the presence of a mafia in AJK's Bhimber district which reportedly blackmails women after filming them.
AJK police, however, have denied the claims made by the victim.
Initial report of DI Khan incident submitted
The initial report of the DI Khan incident — in which a 16-year-old girl was allegedly paraded naked — has been submitted to the Senate Standing Committee on Human Rights, DawnNews reported.
The report confirmed the incident and mentioned that an "old enmity" served as the motive behind the crime. DI Khan RPO told the committee that a brother of the affected girl had been accused of assaulting a girl some two-and-half years ago. Though that issue had been settled, the victim was assaulted in retaliation, it added.
The incident came to light last month when the girl approached the Peshawar High Court, narrating the chilling account of what happened to her on Oct 27 at her village Garamat in DI Khan and how the local police supported the suspected culprits by twisting facts in the first information report.
— Names have been changed to protect the identity of the victim.