September 8th, 2020

By Sher-e-Azam


KARACHI

The family of five-year-old Marwah Sadiq has expressed their dissatisfaction over the investigation and the lack of support they have faced since the little girl was found raped and murdered, and dumped in a garbage heap three days ago.

The incident of sexual violence shook the people of Karachi, particularly Old Sabzi Mandi, after Marwa, was found dead. The family lives in Essa Nagri in the Karachi East area, and Marwah was an only child.

The level of devastation that her parents have gone through is immeasurable, especially as they have discovered that the accused, Nawaz, abducted and carried on raping Marwah for two days before killing her and dumping her dead body in a garbage container.

Marwa’s father Omar Sadiq says that his daughter had gone out to buy biscuits from a nearby shop at 7 pm, never to be seen again. The investigation has revealed that Marwah may have been kidnapped sometime after leaving the shop.

While the parents went through incalculable tragedy and suffering, Omar has a lot to say about the lack of police collaboration.

“The police did not cooperate with us at all,” he says angrily. “I registered the FIR to be filed two days ago but not even a single police officer came to our neighborhood to help us look for our daughter. The only time that the police took action was after we had informed them that we have found our daughter’s mutilated body, wrapped in a curtain from the culprit’s house.”

Only after the terrible discovery did the police go to search the suspect’s house.

“The police searched his home and found clear signs that my daughter was kept there,” says Sadiq. “The curtain was new, the pillows there were newly washed. The house had been cleaned up.”

Marwah’s grandfather has a harder stance; he asserts that severe punishment must be given to those involved so that such incidents are not repeated.

“I demand that the culprit be publically hanged so that no one ever dares to do such an act ever again,” says Sher Rehman.

Despite repeated assertions by family members for a public hanging, the intensity of punishment does not have any impact on criminal behavior. For instance, the hanging of Imran Ali in the Kasur rape and serial killing case has failed to bring down child abuse cases anywhere. Only two years later yet another serial killer was found raping and murdering boys in a district near Kasur.

Condemning the incident, founder of Tehrik-e-Niswan Sheema Kirmani says that such cases represent the level of empathy and humanity lacking in society. “It seems as if a mass hysteria has gripped our society,” she says. “Such people it seems are backed by powerful stakeholders because of which they can avoid persecution.”

According to Karachi High Court lawyer Tooba Abid, there has been a marked rise in such incidents in Karachi but no one seems to have a solution. “Children have abused in Karachi every day but institutions and the government ignore them. How long will this oppression continue?” she asks. “In my opinion instead of moving towards new laws the implementation of existing child protection laws is the need of the hour.”

Zor Talib, a member of the local jirga, asserts that Marwah was the daughter of the entire nation, calling upon civil society organizations and political parties to come to their aid.

“No one including political parties and civil society organizations have bothered to come to our area. I think it is shameful that no one cares about such an atrocious crime.”

Criminologist Samreen Arif has asserted the need for renewed legislation on child abuse.

“Steps must be taken to improve awareness about such issues. Seminars should be organized for parents. Additionally, it is also essential to train parents and children so that they can properly respond to such threats.”

The PIB Colony police have launched an investigation into the incident and have at present arrested 11 suspects while Marwah’s body has been sent for postmortem after taking body samples. The report of the postmortem is yet to arrive.

The MLO of Jinnah Hospital says that detailed remarks on the incident would be premature at this point but it has been confirmed that the girl was raped. The cause of death is blunt trauma to the head, showing that the girl was hit by a heavy object on the head.