PRESS RELEASE, March 20
Karachi: In a joint statement issued to the press, Iqbal Haider, Secretary General, Human Rights Commission of Pakistan (HRCP) and Zohra Yusuf, Vice Chairperson, HRCP has strongly condemned the abduction, gang rape and humiliation of a 19 years old newly-wed woman of Lodhran, on the premises of the Mausoleum of the founder of Pakistan. They also condemned the harassment of the representatives of War Against Rape (WAR) at the Resident Engineer’s Office, Bagh-e-Quaid, by a group of people, during an identification process of a gang-rape case registered at the Brigade Police Station in Karachi. The Resident Engineer, who has the capacity to act as a Magistrate, allowed the identification process to be held under his supervision by calling the Mausoleum’s employees in groups to his office and lining them up in front of the survivor for identification. The WAR team was manhandled and threatened of seizing their vehicle and detaining their persons, after an employee of the Mausoleum was identified by the survivor as one of the rapists out of five and was the one who kidnapped the girl from inside the Mausoleum and shifted her to the storage room at gun-point.
The rape of a woman at Mazar-e Quaid is a matter of shame — not for the victim, but for the whole nation that has failed to protect its citizenry, particularly women and also for the management of the Mausoleum of Quaid-e-Azam that has failed to provide security to the visitors of the Mausoleum.
HRCP notes that this is a serious criminal offense and therefore it is most urgent that the Government of Pakistan take immediate interventionary steps in this matter. It urged the Government to order an impartial and thorough investigation into the complaint filed by the victim and called upon the Government to intervene into the matter and to appoint a lady session judge to investigate the incident.
HRCP strongly demands that the people who are responsible for this act, especially the one identified by the victim, be taken into immediate police custody so that the police can be led to those culprits who have yet not been identified. HRCP also urges the government to provide security to the victim and her family who at this point are vulnerable to intimidation.
Iqbal Haider, Secretary General
Zohra Yusuf, Vice Chairperson, Sindh