A teenaged schoolgirl consumed rat poison in an Azad Jammu and Kashmir (AJK) village on Thursday, less than 36 hours after she was allegedly raped by her teacher.
The girl is out of danger at a hospital and the suspect has been arrested, police said.
The 15-year-old victim, a resident of Karela Payin village of Kotli district’s Nakyal subdivision, was assaulted after 11pm on Tuesday night when her penurious parents were away from home to visit a relative in Lahore, Nakyal police station house officer (SHO) Faisal Siddique told Dawn by telephone.
Quoting from an application lodged by the victim’s father at on Thursday morning, the SHO said the girl studied in eighth grade in a state-run middle school of the area where the suspect served as a contractual teacher.
The 25-year-old suspect would off and on take the girl to his home for tuition and guidance, etc., “but we did not consider it unusual in view of his status as a teacher and spiritual father”, the victim's father told the police.
On Tuesday, when the complainant and his spouse were in Lahore, the teacher rode the victim on his bike to his shop, located near his house, and raped her there, the SHO said.
He dropped her back home at about 2am on Wednesday, he added.
Upon returning home, the victim did not tell anything about her ordeal to her aunt, who was staying with the family, according to the SHO.
The girl's father said when he and his wife returned home on Wednesday evening, they inquired about their daughter's absence from home for some time the previous night.
“She was nervous and scared… and on my exhortation she narrated the ordeal she had gone through at the hands of the teacher,” the complainant said, adding that they had decided then to refer the matter to the police.
However, at about 8am on Thursday morning, the victim consumed rat poison, apparently out of shame and fear, and was rushed to Tehsil Headquarters (THQ) Hospital Nakyal, he said.
SHO Faisal told Dawn that according to the provisional medical report submitted by a female medical officer at THQ Hospital, the “occurrence of sexual intercourse had been proved.”
“The victim was not in a good condition when her initial statement was recorded by police at the hospital, wherein she said she trusted her teacher and did not have any idea that he would resort to such a shameful act,” the official said, adding that a detailed statement would be recorded after her condition improves.
According to the SHO, the suspect was apprehended from his home in the evening.
The victim was shifted to DHQ Hospital Kotli earlier in the day and her condition was said to be stable.
Police have registered a case under Section 375 of the Azad Penal Code (APC) and Sections 5 and 10 of the Zina (Enforcement of Hadood) Act, 1985 against the teacher for committing rape and under Section 325 (attempt to commit suicide) of APC against the victim for voluntarily causing grievous hurt to herself, the SHO said.
Since the beginning of 2018, there has been a marked upsurge in the reporting of sexual abuse cases across Pakistan. The brutal rape and murder of Zainab Ansari in Kasur earlier this year in particular shocked the entire country, with #JusticeforZainab becoming the rallying cry in a nationwide drive to end violence against children.