PAKISTAN: Uzma Ayub, the rape victim, gives birth to baby girl: what next? 

Another challenge to the conscience of humanity

Uzma Ayub, a rape victim from Karak, Khyber Pakhtunkha province, gave birth to a baby girl at a local hospital in Peshawar at 11:45pm on January 20.  Bilqees Begun, Uzma’s mother told this scribe on the phone that Uzma complained of having labour pains in the evening and was rushed to the hospital where she gave birth to the child after suffering the labour for almost six hours.

It has also been learnt that the condition of both mother and the child is stable. According to Bilgees Begum the chairperson of a local NGO women rights organization has took the baby from the hospital soon after she was born along with some document signed by Uzma, as on family had agreement with Uzma and her family to adopt her child. About the child Uzma says she hates her but she does not want to kill a life. The immediate shifting of the baby was for security measures as perpetrators had on many occasions declared that if the baby comes into the world they would kill her immediately.

Uzma Ayub who was allegedly kidnapped a year ago, held captive and repeatedly raped by several persons, including policemen escaped from her captors on September 19 when she was six-month pregnant. She has vowed to seek justice come what may.
Her case was high profile due to involvement of police officials in the kidnapping and repeatedly raping her for one year and later the case became more serious when Alamzeb, not only her brother but also her lone supporter was shot dead on December 9, 2011 in the court premises in Karak in the presence of police officials.

The chief minister of Khyber Pakhtunkhwa Ameer Haider Hoti had directed to constitute an inquiry committee soon after the news about Uzma was reported in The News International.

In the inquiry report the DNA test of the accused police officials and others involved in the case was recommended after the birth of the child so the time has come to follow the recommendations and make things clear. Let’s see how the provincial government act now.

The Peshawar High Court had also taken suo moto notice in the murder case of the victim’s brother and had recently directed the provincial government and the officials of police department to provide her residence with tight security to the victim’s family in Peshawar and they did it.

But why didn’t they realize the gravity of the situation when Alamzeb was shouting and asking for the same thing while he was alive.

Is this a justice that the judiciary takes action when it’s too late? This is the same court which compelled Uzma to fight and seek justice not only for herself but also for her slain brother now only because of negligence on part of the institution earlier.

Besides, different childless couples have already expressed their desire to adopt the baby even its being an illegitimate child while Uzma Ayub is also ready to give away the child as according to her she is not in a position to raise the child.

Though earlier in one of her interview she had said that it was true that the child she was carrying in her womb will always remain fatherless, still what she knew was that she is the mother of the child and the most painful stage is yet to come when the child will ask her this question. At that time she was determined to give birth to this child and bring it up as a respectable citizen as her slain brother Alamzeb had also extended his support to Uzma in this regard.

He had said that he would devote his life to help her sister in bringing up the child if she wishes so but after his death Uzma and her family members changed their mind.

Uzma has got two reasons for changing the decision of not keeping the child with her. First is her family’s poor financial condition and second is the fear of the conservative Pashtun society which she believes will never accept the child and treat her like other children.

I have learnt that the civil society organizations have asked Uzma not to disclose the truth about the child and her background story before the people who are desirous to adopt the child but these organizations must realize that such truth cannot be hidden forever.

If these organizations are really concerned about Uzma and her daughter they must make efforts to create awareness among the society and be courageous enough to change the mindset of the people rather than to getting the credit of providing her justice on the basis of a lie.

The High Court decisions and the civil society organizations have been in support of Uzma so far but the question is what will happen next? Will these institutions be able to provide justice to Uzma in a true sense or her story will be given a new or some negative turn to bury the case?

In Islam a daughter is called as a blessing from Allah but in the Pashtun (Pathan) society she is mostly considered as burden and her birth is mourned. I cannot say whether Uzma is fortunate or unfortunate to have a baby girl but apparently keeping in view the situation of the so called Pashtun society I believe the God has sent one more feeble creature to this world to suffer and become a challenge to the conscience of the humanity and human rights groups.

About the author: Farzana Ali Khan is a journalist working for The News International. She has written the above article for the AHRC. She can be reached at

Document Type : Article
Document ID : AHRC-ART-001-2012
Countries : Pakistan,
Issues : Sexual violence, Violence against women,