Rights Watch | 26th January 2021

Rawalpindi couple convicted of abducting, raping and blackmailing a student with footage of her assault, accused gets death penalty while his wife gets life term. A young university student who was abandoned by her paramour at the emergency ward of a Lahore hospital died due to a botched abortion, police have arrested the suspect as well as his accomplice. Civil society organizations express serious concern over amendment to KP child protection law that will make public videos of executions of sex offenders.

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Couple convicted for raping student found to have molested 45 minors

On Monday, January 25, Rawalpindi Additional Sessions Judge Jahangir Ali Gondal convicted Qasim Jahangir and his wife Kiran Mehmood for abducting, raping and then blackmailing a female MSc student with videos of the assault in August of last year.

Qasim was handed down the death penalty and fined Rs. 1.5 million for abducting and raping the girl. Failure to pay the fine would entail six months of imprisonment. The accused must also pay Rs. 1 million in compensation to the rape survivor, and in the case of failing to do so must serve an additional six months in imprisonment. Qasim was also given three years imprisonment and a Rs. 1 million fine under the Prevention of Electronic Crimes Act of 2016.

Kiran was handed down a life sentence and a fine of Rs. 1 million for kidnapping the rape survivor, and a further three years in imprisonment and an additional Rs. 1 million fine under the Prevention of Electronic Crimes Act.

In August of 2020, the couple had abducted Allama Iqbal Open University from outside Gordon College where she had come to attend the workshop. Kiran, posing as a student, offered the girl a lift. Qasim drove up to the two women, whereby Kiran forced the girl into the car. The couple took the student to their home in Gulistan Colony, where Qasim raped her while Kiran filmed the ordeal.

Upon arrest, police managed to recover several sexually explicit non-consensual videos of different women from their devices. The accused had also confessed to police of raping and making videos of some 45 girls aged between eight to twelve years, and were supplying these videos to an international pornography website.

Young woman dies of botched abortion, suspects arrested

Nawab Town police on Tuesday arrested the accomplice to the prime suspect in a case pertaining to the shocking death of a government university student due to a botched abortion. A woman has also been detained for questioning.

On Sunday, an ‘unconscious’ woman was brought in to the emergency ward of a private hospital in Nawab Town by a man who then managed to flee. Hospital professionals pronounced the woman dead on arrival, and determined that she had died due to complications from an abortion gone awry at a private clinic.

The 23-year-old student hailed from Gujrat and, according to her family, had gone to Lahore to submit her university fees in order to receive her degree. Police were able to identify the prime suspect through CCTV footage obtained from the hospital, and arrest him on Monday. Upon questioning, the suspect, a classmate, admitted to being romantically involved with the girl and stated that she had made the excuse of needing to pay her university dues to get the money from her parents to pay for the abortion.

When her condition began to rapidly deteriorate, he along with a friend drove her to the hospital to save her life. He brought her in to the emergency ward where some police officers were present to investigate an attempted suicide case – upon seeing the police, the suspect made an excuse and exited the premises. He was followed by an officer who found his behaviour suspicious, but the suspect managed to flee.

The woman’s body has been sent for an autopsy while her family has been informed of the incident.

Civil society expresses concern over amendments to KP child protection law

Civil society organizations have raised serious concern over a proposed amendment to the Khyber Pakhtunkhwa Child Protection and Welfare Act 2010, which will have the execution of convicted sex offenders filmed which will be later made public to deter such crimes in the future. Activists state that the proposed law, if passed in its present form, will be challenged during further proceedings as it is against the Supreme Court’s verdict that public hangings even for the worst of criminals is in direct violation of Article 14 of the Constitution, which guarantees human dignity. Moreover, it abrogated Article 45 by taking away the President’s power to pardon, as well as Article 143 by bringing in a provincial criminal law which contradicted federal criminal law on the subject.

Activists also lamented that civil society representatives were not taken on board when drafting the amendment.

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