SAHIWAL, April 26: The city police have taken into custody a woman who was complainant in a rape-cum-murder case involving her 13-year-old daughter who was allegedly subjected to assault by a neighbour around two weeks ago, on suspicion that she was responsible for the girl’s death.
A deputy superintendent of police (DSP), Malik Daoud, admitted that Shahnaz Bibi was in their custody for more than 24 hours since she was picked up from her Jahaz Ground residence at around 3:30pm on Friday. She has not been produced before any court of law till the filing of this report on Saturday night. Shahnaz Bibi’s husband and father of the rape victim, Sabir Ali, has alleged that the police were acting in connivance with local politicians who were trying to protect the suspect, Amin, who happened to be the nephew of a local naib nazim.
Sabir told Dawn that first he lost his daughter Sobia and now the police had picked up his wife Shahnaz and were subjecting her to severe torture to extract ‘confession’ that she had indeed killed her own daughter after catching her in compromising condition with Amin.
Shahnaz Bibi was complainant in case (FIR No 90/2008) registered under Section 302 of the Pakistan Penal Code along with rape charges with City police station on April 15, 2008. Her daughter had died at the DHQ Hospital on April 14, seven hours after she was brought there unconscious.
According to locals, a neighbour Amin, son of Javed, raped the girl but her mother caught them in compromising condition and allegedly thrashed both of them on which the girl fainted. However, the boy fled from the scene. The girl was taken to the DHQ Hospital by the Rescue 1122 staff but she could not survive.
The suspect, Amin, is still at large. "We went to arrest the suspect at his home thrice, but could not find him," Waheed Khan, the investigation officer, told Dawn.
Sabir and Shahnaz were living in Karachi while the rape victim was living with her elder sister in Jahaz Ground locality in Union Council No 43 precincts. The nazim of the union council allegedly started protecting the suspect and his family.
On the one hand, the nazim led a delegation of notables to meet Investigations superintendent of police (SP) to convince him that the girl was indeed killed by her mother while on the other hand he started pressing the victim’s parents to reconcile with the suspect.
However, both Sabir and Shahnaz did not agree on a compromise and kept insisting that the suspect, who is nephew of UC-43 Naib Nazim Arif Ansari, be arrested immediately."We have inquired from locals about the incident and we are pretty sure that the girl was killed by her mother," Ansari told Dawn.
On Friday, Investigations DSP raided the complainant’s house, picked up Shahnaz Bibi at around 3:30pm and took her to the City police station where two policewomen allegedly tortured her in front of her husband. Later, she was shifted to an undisclosed location and was not produced before any court till Saturday.
When asked about her custody, DSP Malik Daoud said: "Yes, Shahnaz is in our custody for the last 24 hours and she will confess her crime by Saturday night."
Dejected Sabir Ali told Dawn that he did not want `settlement’ but justice.
"How a complainant in a murder case can be converted into a suspect?" Alamdar, who is Human Rights Commission of Pakistan district coordinator, asked while questioning the apparent police highhandedness.
"First my daughter was killed and now they are torturing my wife because we are demanding justice. I am a poor man, where should I go?" sobbing Sabir said while sharing his sentiments with Dawn.