January 20th, 2021
By Asim Khan
Questions surrounding the gruesome rape and murder of six-year-old Ameer Hamza on January 13 in the Kandh Baloch area of Khuzdar, Balochistan, have yet to be answered as the report of the incident has been delayed due to the lack of DNA testing facilities in the province.
The family of the deceased boy have urged the police to register an FIR against two nominated suspects, however even then, the police failed to include Section 376 (punishment for rape) of the Pakistan Penal Code under the federal government’s anti-rape ordinance, which was promulgated on January 15.
Instead, the police have added Section 377 (unnatural offences), which is vague in its definition of what constitutes an unnatural sexual offence.
According to Balochistan High Court lawyer Khalid Kakar, the inclusion of Section 377 in the FIR is ‘wrong’, and the framing charge is expected to change to include Section 376 during court proceedings.
The heirs of the deceased believe that the minor boy’s assailants, after raping him, tied his hands together and then set him alight. They say that the police are not cooperating with them at all. The aggrieved have also demanded that an inquiry be launched against the police doctor who performed the autopsy, who came under pressure and declared that the boy had not been assaulted.
They say that Ameer had told his family he was raped and then set on fire when he reached them in critical condition. The child remained in agony for a day before succumbing to his wounds on Tuesday, January 19.
“He came crying to me and told me he was raped and burnt. The next morning during azan, he passed away,” said his mother.
“When we took him to a doctor, they did not even check him and told us that he had not been raped,” said the boy’s father. Both parents have appealed for justice, and stated that no police officer has visited them with any news about the investigation.
The medico-legal officer at the Khuzdar Teaching Hospital, Dr. Javed Zehri, stated in the medical report that the boy was badly burnt in an accident while playing at home and issuing a medical report saying the same.
“The parents brought him in, believing he had been raped,” he stated. “I examined the child thoroughly as a police surgeon, a medico-legal officer. I also have children; there were no scratches, no tears. He was not raped,” he maintains.
Zia Baloch, who works for a child rights NGO, says that investigation into child abuse cases is regrettably sluggish, which can take up to several weeks due to the lack of DNA testing facilities in Balochistan.
“There are a staggering number of child sexual abuse cases in Balochistan, many of which are never reported,” he noted. “There is still confusion surrounding the Khuzdar case, as the lack of a DNA testing laboratory means that any confirmation that he was raped or not will be extremely delayed.”
Meanwhile, Ameer Hamza’s grieving family have appealed to Chief Minister of Balochistan Jam Kamal Khan and the authorities to secure justice.