An interview by Farzana Ali Khan published by the Asian Human Rights Commission
Despite the huge offer made on part of the accused officials for settlement of the case out of court, Uzma Ayub, a teenage pregnant victim rejected the deal and said adamantly that she would fight against them through court.
Uzma Ayub was kidnapped one year ago, held captive and repeatedly raped by several persons, including policemen, had miraculously escaped from her captors on September,19 while being six months pregnant at that time now entered into eighth month of her pregnancy had now vowed to seek justice, desperately, come what may.
Additional Session Judge Ihtisham Ali Takht-e-Nasrati in district Karak on December, 4 did not confirm their bail before arrest and sent them to jail for five days on physical remand.
In an interview with this scribe Uzma Ayub said, ”I don’t know what will happen next whether the criminals would be brought to justice or be released after some time as a great number of influential people are at their side but today I am happy as they would also realize how it feels when one is detained.”
She said about 30 to 40 elders from ASI Hakeem Khan’s area Gudikhel including Shah Abdul Aziz member of provincial assembly on November, 2 had come to our house and said to my brother Alamzeb that Hakeem Khan, Pir Mohsin Shah and Ameer Khan had confessed their crime before them and wanted to compensate and ready to accept their demand whatever it may be.
Again after asking the judge to adjourn the case till December, 2 and then requesting for 24 hours more time, the party had been to the aggrieved family in the evening with the same request but even then Uzma and her family did not accept the agreement.
Uzma said, ”what about the abuse, torture and pain that I have suffered because of them during the entire year when they had kept me in confinement,” adding “can anything in this world get me back that one horrible year of my life which I was supposed to spend with my family but these beasts made me spend it in a dark room”, she questioned.
She said that the accused persons had threatened her and her family as well asking them to take back the case or get ready for dire consequences, but what more bad they could do to me as they have ruined my life already and made me a woman before time, she added.
She said the last chance with the criminals is to kill her and her family and they are ready for that too. ”For me it would be an honour to die with my head up than to live like a coward having my eyes down, in fact” she added saying she is as determined as was on the first day when she had escaped from the captivity of the kidnappers.
To a query the soon would be single parent said, “It’s true that the child I am carrying in womb will always remain father less but what I know this that I am his/her mother and the most painful stage is yet to come when he/she will ask me the question. Adding still I am determined to give birth to this child, rear and get it a respectable status in the society.”
She said though its natural in a Pashtun society not to accept an unmarried woman with her fatherless child still the only thing that console me is that my child is not an outcome of an adultery but its existence is based on the malice on part of the men who are also a part of the same society. And I hope that this society would accept and treat my child like other children keeping this in view that I was innocent.
”I could get rid of this child by doing abortion but my conscience did not allow me to kill it as I know that it is a sin in Islam to take life of a human being”, she said adding my life has already been stigmatic even if I had rid myself of this baby still I wouldn’t have not been given a respectable status but now at least I have got a reason to live in the form of this child.
She said that I believe if Allah has made beasts like men i.e. Hakem Khan, Pir Mohsin Shah and others He (Allah) would have also created some kind hearted people as well who will definitely understand my agony.
She further said it was quite easy to settle the issue with the wronged persons with in the walls of our home and accept their proposal but had I accepted the offer how would I live with the guilt as only me and Allah knows what wrong and to what extent they have done to me.
”You won’t believe that I can’t even sleep and nights when I recall their brutality and I have got tired cursing them day and night”, she said adding I want them to be given exemplary punishment so any other man could never be able to dare and think of committing any such crime in his life.
She said whatever she has suffered would never be healed, she knows that well but she doesn’t want any other girl to become Uzma and fall prey to such beasts.
With eyes welled-up she said, ”Even if I want still I can never forgive them for their cruelty because they haven’t hurt my body only but also left scars on my soul which will never be visible to anyone but I will feel and remember them always”.
She said different nongovernmental organizations had approached her for financial assistance and asked them to create a minor account but surprisingly a single penny has not been deposited in it so far.
Uzma thanked her lawyer Javez Akhtar for fighting her case free of cost but on the basis of humanity and also appreciated the provincial government for investigating the case and finding out the ground truth.
She said that as a part of investigation she was asked by the medical board to visit Peshawar for determination of her age but she couldn’t reach the place as in the letter from the medical board Deputy Superintendent of Police Sajid Mohmand was requested to bring them with full security but when they reached Peshawar he ordered the guards to leave them half way.
Explaining the ordeal she mentioned that due to ignorance about the city she along with her brother Alamzeb couldn’t find the exact place where they were supposed to go and that’s why they missed appearing before the medical board.
The determination of the rape victim is quite admirable. The relevant authorities must respect her courage and bravery as it’s really like a slap on the face not only of the rapists but also those who have provided them unlawful support. As it’s a very bold step to reject compensation in the form of a huge amount of money and keep on fighting for justice. I think it’s the suitable time for the provincial government and the human rights as well as the judiciary to uphold the principles of justice and dignity she is fighting for by bringing the perpetrators to justice and taking all the measures to eradicate the evil of violence against women from the society.
The arrest of the accused police officials and further investigation in the case of the committee formed by the chief minister also speaks volume of their serious interest in the issue.
By arresting the accused police officials the police department might have a fear of the institution being stigmatized but this is the negative side as if they think positively, the act could earn them a good reputation and make the people regain their trust in the police which almost all of the people have lost during the last few years.
I have also learnt that the NGOs have collected funds from different sources including the Asian Human Right Commission (much enough amount) through the Noor Education Trust to be deposited in Uzma’s account but according to Alamzeb, her elder brother, no money has been deposited in her account while they are in dire need of money these days.
The family owe Rs 70, 000 to the people from whom they had borrowed the money while initiating the case and the party is demanding the money as soon as possible while the aggrieved family is not in a position of payment.
It is requested to the Noor Education Trust to provide the collected money with a transparent list of the contributors to the distressed family at its earliest to save them from further anguish.
Moreover, the desired donors can also contribute directly to Uzma Ayub by depositing in her account #:14357900363303 at Habib Bank Limited OR Noor Education Trust – Donation A/c # 022479002497 – 03. Habib Bank Limited.
Swift # habbpkka 224. Routing # 026007809