Pakistan: Woman abducted and gang raped by guards

Asian Human Rights Commission
A young woman was abducted and gang raped by guards of the Mohammad Ali Jinnah mausoleum in Karachi.
A young woman of 18 years was abducted and gang raped continuously over a period of three days by the guards employed at the mausoleum of Mr. Mohammad Ali Jinnah, the Father of the Nation, known as "Mazar e Quide". A guard has been arrested without proper identification as the victim is still semi-conscious. This arrest is seen as an attempt to protect the real perpetrators who are allegedly members of the armed forces. The mausoleum is guarded by the armed forces.
According to the information received the rape victim who is the wife of a resident of a village in Lodhran, Punjab province, came with her family to visit Karachi. On Sunday, March 16, 2008, they went to visit the mausoleum. Both, she and her husband, were stopped at the gate by two guards and told to obtain tickets from another gate which is at least 600 meters away from where they were. The husband went to purchase the tickets asking his wife to wait for the other relatives who were coming in a vehicle. After purchasing the tickets the husband returned and discovered that his wife was missing; her slippers, however, we lying nearby. That whole night her family searched for her and the next day they filed a police report. However, the police failed to take any action. Then, on the night of March 18, she was found on the stairs of the mausoleum. She was taken to two different hospitals of the city where it was confirmed that she had been repeatedly raped.

The mausoleum is under the tight control of the three arm forces of Pakistan and there have been many reported cases of rape and sexual harassment of women. It is due to this that the people of Karachi are avoiding visiting the mausoleum. It is believed that the police and city administration are not willing to conduct investigations and arrest the offenders as the suspected rapists are guards from armed forces personnel. They are now putting pressure on the family of the victim not to pursue the case.

This is a shocking incident and the attitude of the city government of Karachi city in trying to tone down the incident is deplorable. An enquiry into this incident should immediately be instituted and the perpetrators arrested and prosecuted forthwith. The victim must be provided with protection, all medical assistance and compensation.

Many reports regarding rape are received from Pakistan. Women’s organisations in particular have often spoken out about this. However, the authorities in the country do not show much concern to deal with this serious crime. The rape done by personnel of the armed forces is an even greater problem. In this particular case a family went for a visit to a national monument and the woman was raped within its premises after being abducted. We particularly urge the Ministry of Women’s Development to inquire into this case and take appropriate action.

March 19, 2008

A Statement by the Asian Human Rights Commission (AHRC-STM-073-2008)