Victim's right to privacy

Insensitivity of ‘rights activists’ ruins life, dignity of victims; SOPs required to minimize harm

A case of enforced conversion has caught up hype and became a high-profile case within a month. An underage Christian girl, Maira shahbaz, went missing on 28 April 2020 from the area of Faisalabad. When the family learnt about her disappearance they begin searching. Soon they came to know that their underage daughter has been kidnapped at gun point by a man named Nakash Tariq – who was also the resident of same area.

When the matter reached the court, Nakash’s lawyer stated that Maira and Nakash have got married and the girl has embraced Islam. While giving the counter agreement, the lawyer representing Maria’s family stated that the girl is underage; therefore, the marriage is not legal. But the lawyer failed to prove before the court that the girl is under 18 years of age.

Upon which the decision came in favor of Nakash and the court allowed him to keep Maira as his wife.

Later, in the last week of August 2020, things took dramatic turn when Maira escaped from her alleged husband’s house and managed to approach her parents.

As the girl belongs to a family that is financially weak and less educated. This scenario paved a way for NGOs to invade and take hold of each and every thing related to the case. Petition was filed at Rawalpindi bench of Lahore High Court seeking protection of the girl. The court directed RPO Rawalpindi to provide protection to Maria. In a statement given to RPO Rawalpindi, Maira stated that she was abducted on 28 April 2020 by Nakash Tariq and he raped her at gunpoint. Nakash made a video as well and threatened to make it viral on social media, she added.

This is not the first case of such nature. These sort of incidents are often reported on social media pages and websites being run by so called minority rights activists and self-claimed minority leaders as it is their only source of earning. But the way they portray the incident is a matter of grave concern. Instead of providing relief to the victim, they cause much harm to the victim and the family just to acquire Dollars, Pounds and Euros.

Majority of the self-claimed minority right activists are not only visionless but insensitive as well. It’s just money that matters to them. These activists should have basic sense that the victim’s identity shouldn’t be exposed at any cost. But these self-claimed ‘heroes’ don’t hesitate to share the victim’s pictures on social media with the captions highlighting their ‘struggle’ for getting justice. Why don’t they understand that blurring the victim’s face would not cause any reduction in their funds. It is indeed a shameful approach of point scoring. Miseries don’t end here. Situation is even more worst. These self-claimed minority rights activists are in a state of war with each other as all of them wants to take credit of raising voice and doing struggle for poor Maira. This compels me to think who’s the real culprit… the man who abduct and raped her or the ones who exploit the victims to grab Dollars.

There is a dying need to make self-claimed minority rights activists accountable for their words and actions. I wish and hope Maira may get justice and may the unprofessional and insensitive approach of minority leaders not harm her remaining life.

The writer is a former member of the staff.

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