A girl who was allegedly paraded naked in a Dera Ismail Khan village in October last year appeared before the Senate Standing Committee on Human Rights on Wednesday, where she was asked to recount the distressing details of abuse she had suffered.
The 16-year-old told the committee, chaired by Senator Nasreen Jalil, that she had been stripped and humiliated and a video was also recorded of her abuse.
A relative of the victim, Saifullah informed the Senate committee that local police had tried to distort the case lodged by the girl's family. He said the police had registered a fake case against the girl's family members on instructions of the accused suspects.
Sharing details of the gruesome act, Saifullah said a pair of scissors had been used to tear the clothes worn by the teenage girl. "She was pulled by her hair and forced to parade naked in the street," he added.
Saifullah alleged that four similar incidents had occurred in the same union council in the past as well, but they were all covered up.
The members of the committee noted with concern that the prime suspect in the case, Sajawal, is still on the run.
"This incident is an affront to humanity," said Senator Sehar Kamran.
She advised that the court should be requested to announce its verdict in the case on an early basis, adding that the court should hear the matter on a day-to-day basis.
Police officials informed the committee that the statements of seven suspects arrested in the case have been recorded and the weapons used in the incident have also been recovered. They assured the Senate committee that the culprits in the case would be punished.
Senator Farhatullah Babar questioned who was providing security to the victim when the "SHO [station house officer] has been communicating with the prime suspect over telephone?".
He alleged that the police has been protecting the prime accused in the case.
The committee decided to approach the Supreme Court's Human Rights Cell in order to take the case to its logical conclusion.
The incident came to light in November last year when the girl approached the Peshawar High Court, narrating the chilling account of what happened to her on Oct 27 at her village Garamat in DI Khan and how the local police supported the suspected culprits by twisting facts in the first information report.
In the petition, she claimed that that around two years ago, her brother Sajid was accused of gifting a cellphone to a female relative of Sajawal’s family and that the issue was placed before a punchiat (jirga) of Garamat village in Daraban tehsil, which was presided over by tehsil Nazim Mooni Khan.
The girl said that before the punchiat was held, her brother had denied the charges and offered to take an oath, yet the punchiat imposed a fine of Rs500,000 on Sajid.
She added that the fine was reduced to Rs300,000 when Sajawal had kicked her mother before the punchiat.
The petitioner said on October 27, she along with other females of neighbouring houses went to fetch water from a water pond at around 2pm and that on her way home, she was passing nearby the residence of Sajawal and Sanaullah when the accused — including Sajawal and his brother Shahjehan, Nasir and Aslam sons of Faizu, Sanaullah — and others came out.
She claimed that the accused forcibly took her inside the house, tore her clothes and took her dupatta away. The girl added that she was later paraded naked in the streets, while a person caught the incident on camera.
She alleged that the suspected culprits carrying weapons later threw her outside her house naked.
The girl said initially, the local police didn’t cooperate with her family members and even refused to register FIR but did it only after the local people protested.
She said before registering FIR of the incident, the local police had booked her brother and uncle in a concocted case to pressure the family not to pursue the present case.
In the petition, the girl alleged that the local police supported suspects by twisting facts in the FIR.
In the initial FIR, the police had only mentioned that the girl was taken inside a residence and beaten and was not paraded in the streets.