Men gang-rape woman, four-year-old daughter in Kashmore for 2 weeks

Prime suspect remanded into police custody for three days
The district map of Kashmore. Image: SAMAA Digital
The district map of Kashmore. Image: SAMAA Digital

A man identified as Rafiq Malak has been arrested for raping a woman and her four-year-old daughter in Kashmore, police said on Tuesday.

A medical examination confirmed on Wednesday the gang-rape.

Police said a group of suspects lured the woman, who is from Karachi, with the promise of a Rs40,000 job in Kashmore. The woman and suspects met at a hospital in Karachi.

The FIR says that the woman was offered a job on October 25. She travelled there with the men and her four-year-old daughter. The men then detained the pair at Malak’s residence in Kashmore and gang-raped the woman.

They then released her but kept her daughter, telling her to bring the woman who was with her during their meeting at the hospital in exchange for the child. They threatened to murder her daughter if the woman did not comply.

Related: This is why women won’t report rape in Pakistan

The woman approached the police in Kashmore, who conducted a raid at Malak's residence. They saw three men, two of whom they identified on the spot as Muhammad Rafique Malak and Khairullah Bugti. They did not know the third man.

All three fled when they saw the police and jumped over a wall but Malak landed on a pile of bricks, injuring his legs. The police were able to arrest him but the other two fled. However, the police team has said on record that they will be able to identify the other two on sight.

The police found the child inside and Malak confessed that he had raped her because he was "furious" at her mother. The police confirmed that there were marks of violence on the child that made it apparent that she had been raped. Both the mother and child were shifted to the Taluka Hospital Kashmore.

The child has now been taken to a hospital in Larkana where she is in critical condition.

A case has been registered against Malik at the Kashmore police station under sections 376 (rape), 344 (wrongful confinement), 420 (cheating and dishonesty) and 34 (common intention) of the Pakistan Penal Code. It has been registered on behalf of the State.

Malak was presented before a Larkana court on Wednesday. He has been remanded into police custody for three days. The police said Malak is a resident of Kashmore and owned land there.

The police are on the lookout for the other two accomplices.

New weapons to use in rape cases in Pakistan

If you are ever raped in Pakistan one of the best things you can do is throw the law book at the cops because there have been many important legal changes that can work in your favour.

“A lot of us who have taken the police head on tell them Section this and Section that… [then] see how they take you seriously,” advises Sarah Zaman, a development specialist who headed War Against Rape for six years. “Then they realise that the person they are dealing with knows something and they shouldn’t pick a fight.”

Take for example the fact that a section has been deleted so that now the prosecution cannot bring up a victim’s sexual history during a rape case, which is a change most people are unaware of.

What you need to know has changed:

One of the biggest changes we need to know about is that rape (zina bil jabr) was finally separated from zina (adultery) and was made an offence under the Pakistan Penal Code instead of the Hudood Ordinance. “It stopped unproven cases of rape from being converted into those of fornication or adultery,” according to
This change came about in 2006 as a result of the Protection of Women (Criminal Law Amendment) Act 2006. You will find rape in Section 375 of the Pakistan Penal Code now.

Ten years later, the law was changed again, in 2016, to the Criminal Law (Amendment) (Offense of Rape) Act 2016.
Why was this significant? Since the law was changed, not a single woman has been charged with zina and sent to languish in jail and several rape cases were reported and went to court, according to Farieha Aziz of Bolobhi, writing in Newsline magazine eight years ago.

If a public servant doesn’t do their job in a rape case, they can go to jail
Quote this section: Section 166(2) of the PPC
One of the biggest changes is that if any government servant doesn’t properly investigate a rape case or doesn’t diligently follow it, or doesn’t take the prosecution through to its logical conclusion, they can be sentenced to three years maximum and/or be fined.

“Medico-legal officers are public servants,” said Sarah Zaman. The law applies to a police officer, a jailor, a medical examiner. They are not allowed to intentionally create hurdles, mislead, jeopardise, or defeat an investigation.

“There are many cases where we know the police wallah is not doing his job,” said Zaman. “But we are not invoking the law against this.” People are not aware of the law so they can use it. You can now register a case against such government servants.

If a public official rapes then there is culpability for that too.

Deadlines on cases

Quote this section: Section 344(A), CrPC
A case of or attempt of abduction and kidnapping for illicit intercourse, rape, unnatural offences or sexual abuse must be decided within 3 months, after which it shall be sent to the notice of the Chief Justice of the High Court.

There is a time cap on rape case that they cannot take more than three months. “We looked at the data from Khyber Pakhtunkwa and there was not a single conviction that was given a verdict in three months,” said Zaman. (This sentence previously said ‘case’. It has been corrected to ‘conviction’. Verdicts have been passed and there have been acquittals). 

The appeal has to happen in six months. If you factor in the time it takes to prepare an appeal, then any rape case can be wrapped up in a year’s time.
But she added that it was another matter if the rape case is settled out of court. They found that the KP prosecution services report said that 12 out of 38 cases were settled out of court. This was in 2016-2018 from district Nowshera, KP. It was called a “compromise”.

“But we know that compromise was finished from the law in 2006,” said Zaman. “Muafi sullah, muq-muqa, none of this can happen any more.”
Anyone can look up a famous 2013 judgement of the Supreme Court that clearly says this in a Rawalpindi case in which a father took one million rupees in compromise.

You can’t give ID of victims

Quote this section: Section 352, CrPC
Trial to be in camera: Trials of cases of abduction and kidnapping for illicit intercourse, rape, unnatural offences and sexual abuse shall be conducted in camera. An application made by parties, may result in allowing particular persons to have access to or remain in Court. Special measures may be adopted for protection of victim etc. including use of screens, video link etc.

Another thing in the new law is that the victim’s identity will not be disclosed. If there is an alleged rape, not even an FIR, you cannot broadcast the information anywhere, nor can you share any of the information, without explicit permission from the court. (This sentence previously said ‘information’. The correct word was ‘permission). 
The trial from day one till the end will be done in camera, meaning in the judge’s chamber or in a private place. The trial includes everything from statements to the cross examination. There are supposed to be screens but this is not always possible in our courtrooms, which are often (but not always) too small. This is a very sobering point to note for the media that jumps to cover rape stories.

Female supervision

Quote this section: Section 164A CrPC
Quote this section: Section 161A CrPC
Right to legal representation: The police officer shall inform the victim of her right to legal representation after recording information of an offence or an attempt of offence.

An Investigation Officer or IO will register the FIR—not a head moharrar, added Zaman. It has to happen in the presence of a female police officer. If a female officer is not available, then it should be done in the presence of a female family member. The police have to maintain a referral directory of lawyers and tell everyone woman in a rape case that she has the right to a lawyer. They have to share their names and their numbers. But as Sarah Zaman pointed out, this system is not in place anywhere.


gang rape

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