I’m still terrified: Dr Shazia

30 Jun 2005


ISLAMABAD, June 29: A lady doctor whose rape in the southern province of Balochistan last year sparked tribal clashes says she is still terrified. “I was threatened so many times in Pakistan that I still feel scared,” Dr Shazia Khalid told the BBC.

She is currently living in London and has spoken about the incident for the first time since leaving Pakistan.

Dr Shazia’s rape led to a violent confrontation between Baloch tribesmen and security forces.

“I cannot tell you how many times I was threatened. My life was made impossible. I am still terrified,” she said in the interview with the BBC Urdu service.

She said she had never been satisfied with the inquiry conducted by the government into the incident.

“My whole career was destroyed, as was my husband’s. That was why we left our country.

“Instead of getting justice, I was hounded out of Pakistan,” she said.

“I never wanted to leave Pakistan but I had no choice.”

Dr Shazia was employed at a hospital managed by Pakistan Petroleum (PPL), the state-owned supplier of natural gas.

“My case led to so much death and destruction in Balochistan. So many children died because the doctors couldn’t reach the hospitals during those violent times,” Dr Shazia said.

The government has denied that Dr Shazia suffered any harassment from any quarter.

In an earlier interview with the BBC, Information Minister Sheikh Rashid Ahmed said: “She has been sent out of the country by some NGOs and the government has nothing to do with it.”

Dr Shazia has been invited to address a function organized by the Asian-American Network Against Abuse of Women (AANA) in the United States on July 2.

The function is a substitute for the organization’s earlier plans of inviting gang-rape victim Mukhtaran Mai whose case is now in the Supreme Court in Islamabad.

According to AANA, Dr Shazia will address the July 2 function over telephone. Ms Mai will address the function in the same way.

Online adds: Reacting to Dr Shazia’s latest interview, the information minister said that allegations about threats were baseless.

He said that Dr Shazia herself wanted to go abroad. The minister called for setting up a commission by international media to review the cases of Dr Shazia and Mukhtaran Mai.

He said he would like to know which vested interests had kept Dr Shazia quiet for so long.