LAHORE: After a hue and cry and subsequent boycott of the assembly session by the opposition benches over the rape of a young girl from Muzaffargarh – who later committed suicide – the law minister assured the legislators that the police inquiry report would be presented in the House on Monday.
During Friday’s session, the opposition highlighted the case, in which a rape victim set herself on fire in front of a police station in Muzaffargarh after authorities dropped charges against four men accused of raping her, including prime suspect Nadir Khan.
The opposition also held a token boycott of the assembly proceedings in protest against the incident and the poor law and order situation in the province.
The girl (A) set herself on fire outside the Bait Mir Hazar Khan Police Station in protest against the injustice of police and the court after she heard that the accused had been bailed out on March 13 due to lack of evidence, as police failed to investigate the case properly.
She was a student of intermediate (second year). The accused, along with his three accomplices, kidnapped and raped her when she was going to college with her brother on February 5.
A case was registered, but the investigation officer termed the accused “innocent”, who was later released from jail in the light of the faulty investigation report.
The family of the victim claimed that the police had been bribed by the accused, alleging that Rs 70,000 were paid for twisting the facts.
On the issue, the law minister told the House that according to the FIR, the girl was not raped, and that it was a case of attempted rape. He further said that she had identified one of the accused – Nadir Khan – who is the younger brother-in-law of her sister. He said that the victim and accused families have some business disputes too, and on the same grounds, he was bailed out and declared innocent in the police report.
Furthermore, the law minister said that the act of some individual policemen should not be compared with all the staff of the department. He also criticised the role of civil society in this regard, saying that some NGOs and human rights activist Farzana Bari had been showing the poor face of the government and society before the world to build only her own image.
He assured the House that legal action would be taken by the government against the policemen if any one of them was found guilty.
Interestingly, the law minister, when showing the innocence of the alleged culprits, also pointed out that locals also stood near the victim but did not try to stop her from self-immolation.
On this, the opposition members stood on their benches and accused the law minister of giving cover to the “killer-police” and twisting the investigation, besides blaming the general public instead of the rapists.
When the opposition did not give any chance to the chair to continue the assembly business, the law minister once again stood on his seat and said that the chief minister had appointed the additional inspector general to probe and submit a report regarding the incident within the next 24 hours.
He also assured the opposition that he would present the report in the House next Monday.
The Punjab Assembly session on Friday started one hour and 20 minutes late from its schedule time of 9am under the chair of Deputy Speaker Sher Ali Gorchani.
Minister Malik Tanveer Aslam replied to the queries of the colleagues about Communication and Works Department.
To a query, he informed the House that his department had no concern with the construction and completion of the new building of the Punjab Assembly or its residential facilities for legislators. Answering the same question about construction of any new hostel for MPAs to accommodate them, Rana Sanaullah categorically told the House that he was sure that the government under the chief ministership of Shahbaz Sharif had no plan or project to construct any new hostel.
Opposition leader Mehmoodur Rasheed also raised the issue of disappearance of the machinery used in construction of the new assembly building, but the law minister said that such machinery was safe at the site.
It is pertinent to mention here that world fame Indian artist Om Puri during his stay in the city visited the assembly and saw the assembly proceedings. The deputy speaker, treasury benches and the opposition welcomed him. The law minister appreciated Om Puri for announcing that he would not be part of any film having propaganda against Pakistan, and suggested him that both neighbouring countries should solve their issues through talks. The assembly session will resume on Monday at 3pm.
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