Home / News / Urgent Appeals / UPDATE (Pakistan): Mother and daughter allegedly gang raped by the police and government henchmen

UPDATE (Pakistan): Mother and daughter allegedly gang raped by the police and government henchmen

September 14, 2006


UPDATE ON URGENT APPEAL UPDATE ON URGENT APPEAL UPDATE ON URGENT APPEAL

ASIAN HUMAN RIGHTS COMMISSION - URGENT APPEALS PROGRAMME

Update on Urgent Appeal

14 September 2006

[Re: UA-297-2006: Pakistan: Police and government henchmen abducted and confined a mother and a girl for 12 days]
------------------------------------
UP-179-2006: PAKISTAN: Mother and daughter allegedly gang raped by the police and government henchmen

PAKISTAN: gang rape; discrimination with low caste; police's inaction; un-rule of law
-------------------------------------

Dear friends,

The Asian Human Rights Commission (AHRC) has received further information regarding the abduction of two lower caste women, a daughter and her mother, by the henchmen of the State Minister for Law, Parliamentary Affairs and Human Rights as well as by the Kabirwala police of Punjab province on 25 August 2006 (See further: UA-297-2006). It has now been revealed that the daughter and mother had been also allegedly gang raped.  The victims were afraid to discuss the rape after their release since the Superintendent and Deputy Superintendent of police Khanewal-punjab allegedly threatened to kill them.  It is also believed that the nature of threats have been orchestrated by the Minister himself.  This atrocity only become known after Ms. Mumtaz Mai (the mother) went to a female doctor to stop the bleeding that she was suffering as a result of the rape. The mother then disclosed that both her and her daughter had been raped by no less then 10 attackers.

UPDATED INFORMATION:

The two lower caste women are from the Batti community. Miss Ghazala Shaheen who completed her M.A. in Education from Baha uddin Zakaria University against the wishes of the upper caste Mirali and her mother Ms. Mumtaz Mai were both allegedly kidnapped by the Kabirwala police and 12 persons associated with the Minister of State on Law, Parliamentary Affairs and Human Rights at roughly 1:00 am on 25 August 2006.

Both of the victims were kept for 12 days in the private custody of the abductors and gang raped until local people raided the house that they were kept captive, caught three of the perpetrators and helped release the victims. The victims were not telling the whole story under the tremendous pressure from Superintendent of Police District Khanewal, Mr.Shahid Anees, Deputy Superintendent of Police Circle of Kabirwala Mr. Daud Hasnain and Station Head officer of Saddar police station of Kabirwala Mr. Mehboob Rabbani. The police allegedly threatened that if they told their story to anyone, they (the police) will not only parade them nude throughout the area but will also arrange for a fake police encounter to kill her father and brothers. It is known through local human rights organisations and activists that when the women were released and recording their statement, telephone calls from Minister were allegedly made to the police that instructing them not to allow the women to tell were gang rape.

The full details of the case is, that Miss Ghazala Shaheen who is a part of the lower caste "Batti", graduated first class with a Master of Arts (MA) in Education. On 25 August 2006, she went to her house at the Chak Sher Khan village, Kabirwala Town some 50 kilometres away from her Zakarya University to inform her parents about her success. The news about her completion of the MA spread in the village like fire. This news provoked the people of the minister of state for law and human rights and also the tribal elders of upper caste namely "Mirali".

The same night when people of the Chak Sher Khan returned to their homes after extending greetings to the victim's family, some policemen in uniform, with five to six armed men of the federal minister allegedly reached the house of victims at 1:00 am and forcibly entered, severely beating her father Mr. Muhammad Hussain, a retired military man with, boots, iron sticks and with the butts of guns. They then allegedly kidnapped Miss Ghazala and her mother Mrs. Mumtaz Mai. They dragged the victims for about one kilometre from their house, while the entire time beating them. The victims were then forced to sit on two motor cycles, one policeman was driving and the girl was sitting in between him and another officer behind her, with the same happening to her mother. All the while, they were teased by the police.

On August 27, a relative of the victims named Mr. Abdul Rasheed Batti, who is a teacher at a local school, contacted the local office of the human rights organization named the Human Rights Commission of Pakistan, after getting no response from the local police on what had happened.  Also on August 28, he contacted the representatives of different organisations including PRIME. The Human Rights Commission of Pakistan went to the offices of Station House Officer (SHO) Mr. Mehboob Rabbani, Superintend of Police (SP) Mr. Shahid Anees and Deputy Inspector General of police (DIG) Multan to request that the case be registered and demand that girl and her mother be released from the henchmen of the federal minister of state.

However, the police officer allegedly refused to file a case against the perpetrators as they belong to a higher caste and also the men of a State Minister of Law Mr Raza Hayat Heraj. The Deputy Inspector General of Multan told the human rights activists it was a case of old enmity and no abduction took place, rather the girl and her mother ran away from her house on their own wish.

The Deputy Inspector of Police then told the activists that this kind of thing happens generally when there is a dispute between lower and upper castes. Therefore he refused to register a case. On August 28, a case involving the disappearance of the victims was registered in the Saddar police station of Kabirwala through the intervention of another minister named Mr. Hasnain Jani of the provincial government of Punjab.

On 5 September 2006, people of the Kabirwala town informed the police about a house where the alleged perpetrators were present with the abducted women and her mother.  The Deputy Superintendent of Police Circle (DSP)-Kabir wala, Mr. Daud Hasnain came himself and raided the house and arranged for the alleged perpetrators to escape with the women and her mother. But the local people caught one car which was carrying the women and her mother and got control over three of the accused persons, one was identified as Nazar Mohammad, while the other two are guards of Mr. Raza Hayat Heraj who is the federal Minister for State on Law, Parliamentary Affairs and Human Rights.

When they all were brought to the police station at Kabirwala, the police did not allow the mother and her daughter to meet with relatives and local human rights activists. At 5:00 pm, DSP Mr. Daud Hasnain arranged a press conference and said that this is a case of old enmity and nothing had happened to the girl and her mother. But the mother was not talking and all the time she was weeping but the girl said that they were kidnapped and kept in a small room where they were only given water and food once a day.

Later on the next day she told journalists and human right activists, including the AHRC that the captors were all the time beating them and using filthy language. She said that if people had not secured her release, she and mother would have been raped and then killed by the police and the abductors. She said that when the abductors learnt that a case is also filed by the intervention of another provincial minister of Punjab, Mr. Hasnain Jani, they then panicked and started taking harsh steps against them. Beside this, Judicial Magistrate of Kabirwla received a medical report from the local government hospital that confirmed that the both victims were gang raped. Till date, the police have not registered any case against the alleged perpetrators regarding this incident despite all these evidence. 

Police have not arrested the other persons involved particularly Mr. Mohammad Nawaz who is said to be the right hand man of the minister. Police also released a guard and another person who were caught by the local people during the raid on the house where women and her mother were kept and tortured. Police are also threatening Mr. Abdul Rasheed Batti who is the teacher and Mr. Allah Ditta who belong to the same lower caste Batti. They are also the ones who mobilised local people to act out against the injustice.

SUGGESTED ACTION:
Please write letters to the concerned authorities as mentioned below urging them to immediately intervene in this case and provide the victims full protection from the alleged perpetrators and to take legal actions against the alleged perpetrators including the high officials of police and to register a case of gang rape.

To support this appeal, please click:

Suggested letter:

Dear ___________,

PAKISTAN: Mother and daughter allegedly gang raped by the police and government henchmen

Name of the victims:
1. Miss Ghazala Shaheen, daughter of Mr. Muhammad Hussain Battiresidents
2. Ms. Mumtaz Mai, wife of Mr. Muhammad Hussain Battiresidents, victim 1's mother
3. Mr. Muhammad Hussain Battiresidents of Moazo Chah Hashim Wala, Chak Sher Khan, Kabirwala town, Khanewal district, Pakistan (beaten by the alleged perpetrators)
Name of the alleged perpetrators:
1. Muhammad Nawaz (main suspect), the alleged right-hand man of the Sate Minister for Law, Parliamentary Affairs and Human Rights 
2. Nazar Mummad, Abbas, Azhar, Wajid and Ghazanfer, the alleged henchmen of Minister of the Sate Minister for Law, Parliamentary Affairs and Human Rights 
(The above three suspects are residents of Mirani, Sarai Sadho police station, Tehseel Kabirwala, Punjab, Pakistan)
3. Mr. Muhammad Ali, Deputy Inspector General-Multan Range
4. Mr. Mehboob Rabbani, Station Head Officer, Saddar police station, Kabirwala town
5. Mr. Shahid Anees, Superintendent of Police of Khanewal district
6. Mr. Daud Hasnain, Deputy Superintendent of Police Circle Kabirwala.
Date of incident: from 25 August to 5 September 2006
Place of incident: Chak Sher Khan, Kabirwala town, Khanewal District, Punjab, Pakistan

I am writing to you to express my concern about the alleged abduction and gang rape of 24 year-old student Miss Ghazala Shahee and her mother Mumtaz Mai by the Kabirwala police Prunjab province and the henchmen of the Sate Minister for Law, Parliamentary Affairs and Human Rights during the 12 days they spent in illegal custody.

I have been informed that the daughter and mother belonging to the lower caste "Batti" of Punjab province and were kidnapped by the upper caste "Mirali", to which caste the said minister also belongs. On 25 August 2006, she went to her house at the Chak Sher Khan village, Kabirwala Town some 50 kilometres away from her Zakarya University to inform her parents about her success. The news about her completion of the MA spread in the village like fire. Since it is clear that higher education of women is not liked by the upper caste, the news allegedly provoked the people of the minister of state for law and human rights and also the tribal elders of upper caste namely "Mirali".

On the same night when people of the Chak Sher Khan returned to their homes after extending greetings to the victim's family, the henchmen of the minister, some policemen in uniform, with five to six men of the federal minister allegedly reached the house at 1:00 am and forcibly entered, severely beating her father Mr. Muhammad Hussain, a retired military man with, boots, iron sticks and with the butts of guns. They then allegedly kidnapped Miss Ghazala and her mother Mrs. Mumtaz Mai. They dragged the victims out of the house and forced them to sit on two motor cycles. One policeman was driving and the girl was sitting in between him and another officer behind her, with the same happening to her mother.

On August 27, upon learning the incident, a local human rights organization called the Human Rights Commission of Pakistan went to the offices of Station House Officer (SHO) Mr. Mehboob Rabbani, Superintend of Police (SP) Mr. Shahid Anees and Deputy Inspector General of police (DIG) Multan to request that the case be registered and demand that girl and her mother be released from the henchmen of the federal minister of state. However, the police officer refused to file a case against the perpetrators as they belong to a higher caste and also the men of a State Minister of Law Mr Raza Hayat Heraj. The Deputy Inspector General of Multan told the human rights activists it was a case of old enmity and no abduction took place, rather the girl and her mother ran away from her house on their own wish. The Deputy Inspector of Police then refused to register a case by allegedly saying that this kind of thing happens generally when there is a dispute between lower and upper castes.

On August 28, a case involving the disappearance of the victims was registered in the Saddar police station of Kabirwala only after the intervention of another minister named Mr. Hasnain Jani of the provincial government of Punjab. Beside this, Judicial Magistrate of Kabirwla received a medical report from the local government hospital that confirmed that the both victims were gang raped. Till date, the police have not registered any case against the alleged perpetrators regarding this incident despite all these evidence. 

On 5 September 2006, people of the Kabirwala town informed the police about a house where the alleged perpetrators were present with the abducted girl and her mother.  However, it is alleged that the Deputy Superintendent of Police Circle-Kabir wala, Mr. Daud Hasnain came himself and raided the house and arranged for the alleged perpetrators to escape with the women and her mother. But the local people caught one car which was carrying the women and her mother and got control over three of the accused persons, one was identified as Nazar Mohammad, while the other two are guards of Mr. Raza Hayat Heraj who is the federal Minister for State on Law, Parliamentary Affairs and Human Rights.

When they all were brought to the police station at Kabirwala, the police did not allow the women and her mother to meet with relatives and local human rights activists. At 5:00 pm, DSP Mr. Daud Hasnain arranged a press conference and simply said that this is the case of old enmity and nothing had happened to girl and her mother.

I have also been made aware that the mother was not telling anyone about the gang rape because of the alleged tremendous pressure from high ranking police officers who threatened that if the gang rape was told then not only would both the victims be paraded nude in the area but her husband and her sons will also be killed in a fake police encounter.

I appeal that you please register a case of gang rape against the alleged perpetrators as mentioned above and arrest them. A prompt and thorough investigation must be conducted into the incident by an independent agency not by the local police considering their deliberate delay of the investigation into the case. Also I urge that you conduct an inquiry into the alleged role of the Minister of State for Law, Parliamentary Affairs and Human Rights for his involvement in this abduction and rape. I further urge you to ensure that full and effective protection is provided to the victims and their family. Adequate compensation should be provided to the victims as well.

Yours sincerely,

----------------

PLEASE SEND YOUR LETTER TO:

1. Lt. General Khalid Maqbool
Governor of Punjab
Governor House
Mall Road, Lahore
PAKISTAN
Fax: +92 42 9200023
E-mail: governor.sectt@punjab.gov.pk
 
2. Chief Secretary of Government of Punjab
Punjab Secretariat
Lahore
PAKISTAN
Fax: +92 42 7324489
E-mail: chiefsecy@punjab.gov.pk

3. Mr. Khusro Pervez Khan
Home secretary
Punjab Secretariat
Lahore
PAKISTAN
E-mail: home@punjab.gov.pk

4. Choudhry Pervez Ihhahi
Chief Minister Punjab
Chief Minister House
Lahore
PAKISTAN

5. Secretary of Law and Parliamentary Government of Punjab
Punjab Secretariat
Ravi Road
Lahore
PAKISTAN
E-mail: law@punjab.gov.pk

6. General Pervez Musharraf
President
President's Secretariat
Islamabad
PAKISTAN
Fax: +92 51 922 1422, 4768/ 920 1893 or 1835
E-mail: (please see http://www.presidentofpakistan.gov.pk/WTPresident Messa ge.aspx%3Ehttp://www.presidentofpakistan.gov.pk/WTPresidentMessage.aspx)

7. Mr. Muhammad Wasi Zafar
Minister of Law, Justice and Human Rights
S Block
Pakistan Secretariat
Islamabad
PAKISTAN
Fax: +92 51 920 2628
E-Mail: minister@molaw.gov.pk
 
8. Ms. Yakin Erturk
Special Rapporteur on Violence against Women
Room 3-042
c/o OHCHR-UNOG
1211 Geneva 10
SWITZERLAND
Tel: +41 22 917 9615
Fax: +41 22 917 9006 (ATTN: SPECIAL RAPPORTEUR VIOLENCE AGAINST WOMEN)


Thank you.

Urgent Appeals Programme
Asian Human Rights Commission (ahrchk@ahrchk.org)

Document Type :
Urgent Appeal Update
Document ID :
UP-179-2006
Countries :
Share |
Subscribe to our Mailing List
Follow AHRC
Extended Introduction: Urgent Appeals, theory and practice

A need for dialogue

Many people across Asia are frustrated by the widespread lack of respect for human rights in their countries.  Some may be unhappy about the limitations on the freedom of expression or restrictions on privacy, while some are affected by police brutality and military killings.  Many others are frustrated with the absence of rights on labour issues, the environment, gender and the like. 

Yet the expression of this frustration tends to stay firmly in the private sphere.  People complain among friends and family and within their social circles, but often on a low profile basis. This kind of public discourse is not usually an effective measure of the situation in a country because it is so hard to monitor. 

Though the media may cover the issues in a broad manner they rarely broadcast the private fears and anxieties of the average person.  And along with censorship – a common blight in Asia – there is also often a conscious attempt in the media to reflect a positive or at least sober mood at home, where expressions of domestic malcontent are discouraged as unfashionably unpatriotic. Talking about issues like torture is rarely encouraged in the public realm.

There may also be unwritten, possibly unconscious social taboos that stop the public reflection of private grievances.  Where authoritarian control is tight, sophisticated strategies are put into play by equally sophisticated media practices to keep complaints out of the public space, sometimes very subtly.  In other places an inner consensus is influenced by the privileged section of a society, which can control social expression of those less fortunate.  Moral and ethical qualms can also be an obstacle.

In this way, causes for complaint go unaddressed, un-discussed and unresolved and oppression in its many forms, self perpetuates.  For any action to arise out of private frustration, people need ways to get these issues into the public sphere.

Changing society

In the past bridging this gap was a formidable task; it relied on channels of public expression that required money and were therefore controlled by investors.  Printing presses were expensive, which blocked the gate to expression to anyone without money.  Except in times of revolution the media in Asia has tended to serve the well-off and sideline or misrepresent the poor.

Still, thanks to the IT revolution it is now possible to communicate with large audiences at little cost.  In this situation there is a real avenue for taking issues from private to public, regardless of the class or caste of the individual.

Practical action

The AHRC Urgent Appeals system was created to give a voice to those affected by human rights violations, and by doing so, to create a network of support and open avenues for action.  If X’s freedom of expression is denied, if Y is tortured by someone in power or if Z finds his or her labour rights abused, the incident can be swiftly and effectively broadcast and dealt with. The resulting solidarity can lead to action, resolution and change. And as more people understand their rights and follow suit, as the human rights consciousness grows, change happens faster. The Internet has become one of the human rights community’s most powerful tools.   

At the core of the Urgent Appeals Program is the recording of human rights violations at a grass roots level with objectivity, sympathy and competence. Our information is firstly gathered on the ground, close to the victim of the violation, and is then broadcast by a team of advocates, who can apply decades of experience in the field and a working knowledge of the international human rights arena. The flow of information – due to domestic restrictions – often goes from the source and out to the international community via our program, which then builds a pressure for action that steadily makes its way back to the source through his or her own government.   However these cases in bulk create a narrative – and this is most important aspect of our program. As noted by Sri Lankan human rights lawyer and director of the Asian Human Rights Commission, Basil Fernando:

"The urgent appeal introduces narrative as the driving force for social change. This idea was well expressed in the film Amistad, regarding the issue of slavery. The old man in the film, former president and lawyer, states that to resolve this historical problem it is very essential to know the narrative of the people. It was on this basis that a court case is conducted later. The AHRC establishes the narrative of human rights violations through the urgent appeals. If the narrative is right, the organisation will be doing all right."

Patterns start to emerge as violations are documented across the continent, allowing us to take a more authoritative, systemic response, and to pinpoint the systems within each country that are breaking down. This way we are able to discover and explain why and how violations take place, and how they can most effectively be addressed. On this path, larger audiences have opened up to us and become involved: international NGOs and think tanks, national human rights commissions and United Nations bodies.  The program and its coordinators have become a well-used tool for the international media and for human rights education programs. All this helps pave the way for radical reforms to improve, protect and to promote human rights in the region.