ISLAMABAD: Capital police have registered at least 75 cases of rape, including 11 incidents where survivors were sexually assaulted at gunpoint, during the current year, data available with Dawn revealed.

As per the details, 42 women were among the rape survivors. The police also registered 460 cases of kidnapping in which 152 males and 339 females were abducted for various reasons. There were 205 cases registered under 365-B and 87 cases under Section 496 of the Pakistan Penal Code; FIRs in these cases stated that at least 309 women and girls were “abducted for rape”.

In July this year, a police constable was detained for raping a pregnant woman in Tarnol after she sought assistance from police, officers told Dawn. The cases which, however, remained in the headlines included the F-9 rape case and the Margalla Hills case. In the latter, a woman accused a man of raping her at a trail of Margalla Hills, but these allegations turned out to be “fabricated” upon investigation by the police.

On the other hand, a woman, who was in F-9 park with her acquaintance, was raped by two men at gunpoint in February this year. The case was registered the same day on Feb 2, and the accused were shot dead at a police picket in Sector D-12 on Feb 16. The police were accused of extrajudicial killing, but they did not respond to the allegations.

75 cases of rape reported in first seven months of this year

Dawn got in touch with the police to get a comprehensive picture of the F-9 rape incident, the investigation, and the subsequent ‘encounter’ of the accused. Police officials reached the F-9 park after getting information about the rape. The couple had already narrated the incident to other people before informing the police, they said, adding that the victims were taken to the Margalla police station.

They said the survivor was reluctant to lodge a complaint due to “fears about her reputation and that of her family” and at one point she almost left the police station.

However, she came back and lodged the complaint with the intent to save other girls from these rapists. The insiders alleged initially the police were clueless about the culprits. “At one stage the-then SP Investigation and a senior female officer opined no such incident took place and the girl was lying for her vested interests, and that the police should not waste their time,” the police officials told Dawn.

After her identity was reported in sections of the media, the rape survivor, who lived in a house converted into a hostel, was asked by her landlady to leave the premises. At this, the police arranged a residence for her and also provided her with financial assistance, they said.

Since the investigation wing was of no help, SP Saddar and two SHOs teamed up to trace culprits with the help of Safe City footage and managed to get their identifiable photos.

After the incident, the accused left the park on a motorcycle which was identified through a unique marking on it. They went to Rawalpindi via Pirwadhai using I.J. Principal Road. Since there was a power outage in Rawalpindi there was no CCTV footage on Safe City cameras so police used footage from private cameras and managed to follow them to Raja Bazaar. The culprits circled back to Islamabad and disappeared in G-12.

‘Sheer coincidence’

The three-men team decided to trace the culprits in G-12 and Golra, sources told Dawn. The SHO who went to Golra showed a photo of the accused to a barber near the Golra shrine on Feb 11 or 12. The barber said he had seen the person but was not sure when or where. This exchange between the two had not even ended when the accused whom the SHO was looking for entered the shop.

“This was a sheer coincidence,” the officer said, adding that the SHO grabbed him by the wrist.

“Are you arresting me in connection with the F-9 rape case,” this was the first sentence the accused spoke. Subsequently, the SHO informed his senior officer, and upon the information given by the accused, his accomplice was also taken into custody from the same vicinity. The arrests were initially kept confidential.

The accused were detained at a building in the jurisdiction of the Golra police station for interrogation, the officers said, adding the accused allegedly confessed to the crime. They told police that they had gone into hiding fearing arrest.

On Feb 13 or 14 - the exact date could not be confirmed - they were shifted to the CIA centre for some hours for identification. The woman before arriving at the centre had called two rights activists who arrived at the centre after the survivor.

The victim and two rights activists separately visited the centre. Upon seeing the accused, she went into hysterics and started slapping one of the accused. She kept saying they destroyed her life and reputation; the police officers tried to calm her down and later, she also identified the other accused.

The CIA centre was sealed for outsiders but the activists managed to enter the building and saw the two accused in police custody. It may be noted after the encounter, these activists held a press conference and called the police out for the extrajudicial killing of the rape accused.

On Feb 15, the information that both accused were in the custody of police was leaked to the media. The PRO rebutted the reports and said arrests had not been made, but the police had traced their whereabouts. The same night, a meeting was allegedly held to decide the fate of the accused, which was attended by all senior officers. During the meeting, it was decided to eliminate the accused, with reservations expressed by some officers who said the news of the arrest was reported in the media and there were eyewitnesses as well. However, the purported plan to eliminate them got the go-ahead and they were killed at a picket in Sector D-12. Dawn tried to get the police’s version regarding this ‘plan’, but there was no response.

The police announced that two gunmen riding a motorcycle opened fire at the police picket. Due to the police’s “safety measures” the personnel remained unharmed but the gunmen died due to the firing of their accomplices. The police had apparently thought that the encounter of the rapists would act as a deterrent, but the number of rape cases in Islamabad continued to increase.

After the father of one of the suspects accused the police of extrajudicial killing, the Islamabad district magistrate constituted a three-member committee to probe these allegations against the capital police. The father had alleged that the police did not even hand over the body of his son who was ‘encountered’.

However, the body to this day remains dormant. The district administration officials, including spokesperson AC Mohammad Abdullah Tabasum, were approached for their version, but they were not available. DIG and PRO were also not available.

Published in Dawn, August 21st, 2023

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