ISLAMABAD - Gone are the days when police used to protect the poor from the wrath of the mightiest: instead police in Pakistan are fast becoming a force that could only dance to the tune of the powerful and wealthy. Be it a big city or countryside, behaviour of police throughout the country is more or less the same. It only works to add to the miseries of people who, unfortunately, look up to the Police Department for justice. And Islamabad police are no exception.
It took seven months for Islamabad Capital Territory police to register an FIR against the accused who had beaten up a pregnant woman until she lost her one-and-half month old baby.
The gruesome incident happened in the heart of Islamabad, the federal capital of Islamic Republic of Pakistan, in June 2013.
Sumera Ashraf, the victim of severe torture, was immediately rushed to a hospital, where doctors could save her life, but not her baby’s. The shocking story did not end here. Dejected over the behavior of male dominant society, the victim reported the incident to the woman police station Islamabad on June 17, 2013.
The victim, who was under the impression that police would immediately help her after listening to her ordeal, was made to wait seven months to register an FIR. For months, the victim has been taking rounds of the police station for registration of an FIR.
“It was Sub-Inspector Gulzar who refused to register an FIR against the accused. I fail to understand why not he entertained the application of the poor lady,” Sub-Inspector Mohammad Ishfaq, who is currently investigating the case, said while talking to The Nation on Sunday.
According to the investigation officer, it all happened on June 17, 2013; however, police could only register the case on February 02.
Giving details of the horrible incident, the investigation officer said a group of people, including Salamat, Munshi, Adnan and others, barged into the house of Sumera Ashraf, the victim, situated in H-9/2 sector of Islamabad, approached the woman and exchanged words. The group then knocked the woman to the ground, and hit her repeatedly in the stomach. The woman who was one and a half months pregnant lost the baby allegedly due to the torture she was subjected to.
Mohammad Ashfaq, the sub-iInspector, who is investigating the case, believes the accused deliberately attacked the women to kill her baby.
“We are digging deep into the incident. It is still not clear why did they kill the baby. Their move was just to kill the baby,” Ashfaq said.
When asked why did police take seven months to register the case, Ashfaq said it was not him rather Sub-Inspector Gulzar who caused a delay in registration of the FIR.
ASP Zahida Bokhari, sub-divisional police officer and in charge of the woman police station, that kept the victim waiting for seven months for registration of the FIR, refused to accept the responsibility.
“We are here to listen to the plight of people. There has been no delay in registration of an FIR against the accused,” Mi Bokhari told The Nation. She added that a case had been registered against the accused and police teams were after them to get hold of them.
There is no letup in violence against in women in the male dominated society in Pakistan. Case of pregnant woman who lost her baby after a group of people beaten her up in sector H-9/2 is the latest in this series.
Although the woman police station has registered a case under section 352/338-A (ii)34, the victim is hopeless of justice.
“It took seven months for police to register a case against the accused. I’m not sure how long would it take to provide me with justice,” the victim remarked.
Pakistan is one of the worst countries in the world where violence against women has escalated.
Although the number of reported cases of violence against women had decreased, a sharp rise in several forms of extreme violence had been noted, says a report, compiled and made public by the Aurat Foundation in August 2013.
The fifth annual report “Beyond Denial” for 2012 reveals an alarming rise in extreme violence — 144% increase in burning incidents, 89% rise in acid crime, 62% rise in domestic violence and 11% in murder. All the statistics have been compiled from newspapers, with no additional research to crosscheck the figures or put them in perspective.