July 23, 2021
By Zeenat Shehzadi
Exactly when the PM’s remarks sparked controversy on how women must dress in public and its relation to sexual crimes against them, a shocking incident took place in Toba Tek Singh, Punjab, where another 15-year-old girl was gang-raped while her eight-year-old sister was stripped. The crime was filmed on a cell phone.
According to the first information report (FIR) registered with the City Police Station in Toba Tek Singh, while the suspects also made videos of the sexual assault that occurred on 5th June, they also threatened the two sisters that they would upload the videos if they mentioned the incident to anyone. The rape survivor had gone with her eight years old sibling together to collect firewood on the edge of a forest.
“We were gathering firewood together when the three men came and dragged us forcefully deeper inside the forest,” the girl told Voicepk.net. One of the suspects held up her younger sister who watched in horror as the two others took turns to rape the elder sibling. “One of the suspects was also filming the assault with his cell phone,” said the girl. “They threatened to shoot dead all of our family members if we told anybody of the assault,” she added.
“It was around 11 am when I went home to put my son to sleep, leaving my two daughters to collect firewood from the forest,” said their mother. “They gagged my younger daughter and raped my eldest daughter,” she said.
However, a few days after the gang rape, one of the three suspects leaked the videos to other friends in the locality. As the videos went viral, the girls’ father decided to contact the police. According to the initial medical report, the doctors have confirmed the gang-rape of the elder sister, after which the police registered an FIR under the provisions of rape and child pornography and arrested the three accused. The victim’s father is a brick kiln worker by profession and lives a life of extreme poverty.
“My husband was out for work and I had no cell phone or other means to inform my husband about the assault,” the girl’s mother said.
The mother said that two of the arrested suspects belonged to their community while the third one lived in the neighbourhood. The victim’s grandmother said that they are a very destitute family. “The suspects did terrible wrong to our innocent daughters,” the grandmother said. “The pain and agony can be felt by those who have daughters and sisters,” she said. “What they did to the girls was unspeakable and indescribable,” she added. The grandmother demand justice.
According to Toba Tek Singh police spokesperson, the mobile phone from which the accused made the videos, has been recovered and been sent for forensic examination. The case is still under investigation.
Statistics on rape convictions in Pakistan reveal that only 3% of the accused are actually convicted. However, in this case, it would be premature to say whether the police would be able to build a strong case backed by irrefutable evidence to ensure conviction in the court.