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Justice sought for woman allegedly raped, murdered in govt hospital

Updated April 23, 2019

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Family members say the victim was a bright, independent and emerging prominent community leader in area. — AFP/File
Family members say the victim was a bright, independent and emerging prominent community leader in area. — AFP/File

KARACHI: Relatives of a young woman allegedly raped and murdered by staffers of a government hospital called for justice for the victim at a press conference held at the Karachi Press Club on Monday, while Sindh’s chief minister called for a detailed probe into the matter.

The victim was found dead by her mother at the Sindh Government Hospital in Korangi on April 18.

The victim’s aunt was addressing a press conference called by members of civil society together with the National Human Rights Commission-Pakistan and the Sindh Human Rights Commission.

With the victim’s parents overwhelmed by grief it was her aunt and friends who came forward to demand justice.

“On hearing that [the victim’s] condition was not good from someone at the hospital, my sister rushed there but on reaching there she was informed that she had to be moved to Jinnah Postgraduate Medical Centre after which she rushed there only to find out that her daughter wasn’t there. Then when she returned to the Sindh Government Hospital again they again told her to go to JPMC,” the aunt narrated her sister’s ordeal.

“That was when, suspecting something fishy, she started looking for her daughter at the hospital herself. When she finally found her lifeless form lying on a stretcher in one of the back rooms she at first thought that she was unconscious but she was gone,” she added.

“My sister was then told that she had died due to a reaction by an antibiotic injection and that she should accept God’s will,” the aunt said. “But we thought that [the victim], who had only gone to the hospital complaining of toothache, was a victim of medical negligence or malpractice. Then to our horror it turned out to be something even worse,” she said. After the post-mortem it turned out to be a case of sexual assault and murder.

According to some reports, the 22-year-old woman was drugged and raped during her visit to the hospital.

According to the family of the victim, she was a bright, independent and fiercely committed young woman who also was emerging as a prominent community leader in the area.

Anis Haroon of NHRC-Pakistan said that it was the government’s responsibility to find out what really happened and to punish the culprits. “We demand an inquiry from the government. We also ask the Pakistan Medical Association to look into this matter as the doctors accused and involved in the crime take oaths to save lives, not take lives,” she said.

Retired Justice Majida Rizvi, chairperson of the SHRC, said that she was shocked to learn that hospital staff would collude to commit such a heinous crime and then join hands again to hide that crime. “How can they call themselves Muslim? How can they call themselves human beings?” She asked before announcing her complete support for the grieving family.

Published in Dawn, April 23rd, 2019