13-year-old goes missing in G-8, family protests police ‘sluggishness’

Updated September 17, 2019

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The family and friends of a teenage girl who went missing Sunday night have begun a door-to-door search for her. — AP/File
The family and friends of a teenage girl who went missing Sunday night have begun a door-to-door search for her. — AP/File

ISLAMABAD: The family and friends of a teenage girl who went missing Sunday night have begun a door-to-door search for her.

On Monday, sectors of Ramna echoed with announcements from mosques about a 13-year-old girl who disappeared while walking outside her house in G-8/1.

Local residents were informed of the disappearance and asked to help the girl’s family. Details, including a photograph, of the child were also circulated on social media to help locate her.

The girl’s brother and uncle told Dawn that she disappeared last night after she left the house to go for a walk in the street at 7:30pm.

Footage from CCTV cameras installed at other houses in their street was examined, but they found nothing, her brother said. He added that streetlights were out of order for the last couple of days, and were repaired today (Monday).

Kidnapping case against unidentified individuals registered

The girl’s uncle said she used her father’s mobile phone and had a Facebook account. Late last night, he said, the family noticed that someone used another device to log into her Facebook account and deleted all her messages.

He said they also attempted to delete the account, but were unsuccessful. He said a few people have been picked up by the police, including students from the school where she is enrolled in the seventh grade.

Her brother said the family approached the police and submitted an application with the Karachi Company police, leading to the registration of a kidnapping case against unidentified individuals at 10pm.

Around 1am, police officials visited the girl’s family and collected information, saying they would begin working on the case after 9am, the girl’s two relatives said.

They added that the police assured them they would visit the family again at 9am, but did not turn up before 1pm.

They said the police visited the girl’s home three times but did not begin investigating until the family protested outside the National Press Club. They said they decided to protest because the police response was unsatisfactory and they did not cooperate with the family.

The girl’s brother and her uncle said they also wanted to bring the case to the notice of the government for the child’s safe and quick recovery. They said the police, including a senior officer, reached the press club soon after the protest began and urged them to call it off.

They said they noticed the police’s traditional sluggishness while trying to initiate action to recover the child, adding that this is a serious issue but the police took 18 hours to act.

They said they were told that while they had the right to protest, the police were asking them to call the protest off and accompany them so they would begin the investigation into the girl’s disappearance.

The police then took the family to the Karachi Company police station to start the investigation, they said.

The girl’s brother said that on Eid day, he had helped rescue police officials being beaten by alleged thieves on the way to offer their prayers.

“We are available to help and assist the police and rescue them, but they are not for us,” he said.

This the fifteenth such incident in the capital in four months, but the police have not devised a strategy for these cases so far except to register cases before 24 hours are up.

Inspector General of Police Mohammad Amir Zulfikar Khan and Deputy Inspector General of Police (Operation) Waqaruddin Syed could not be reached for comment.

Published in Dawn, September 17th, 2019