[1978 – 2007] 8 most high-profile and publicized rape cases of Pakistan

A brief summary of cases and their results.

Over the years, there have been numerous and rising occurrences of rape cases in Pakistan. Among the various cases of sexual abuse, several high-profile and publicized cases in Pakistan went on to draw massive national and international attention. Unfortunately, in many of these cases, culprits exploited the grey areas in the criminal jurisprudence, and used money and their influence to rid themselves of retributions and penalties!

Here are the brief details of the most famous rape cases of Pakistan:

13th of May 1978 – Jharna Basak (Shabnam)


The renowned Pakistani former film actress, Shabnam,  was subjected to a traumatizing ordeal at her house in the posh Gulberg locality of Lahore. Five armed men entered Shabnam’s home and first committed a robbery. After forcibly taking away rupees one lakh cash, jewelry, and other household articles, the accused also gang-raped Shabnam, in front of her husband, music composer Robin Ghosh, and their only son, Ronnie Ghosh.

The seven accused in the case included influential individuals Mohammad Farooq Bandial, Wasim Yaqoob Butt, Jamil Ahmad, Tahir Tanvir, Jamshed Akbar Sahi, Agha Aqueel Ahmad, and Mohammad Muzaffar. All the accused, hailing from influential families, were later tried by the Special Military Court. However, the culprits managed to influence local police to not register the case for gang rape. Shabnam and her family were reportedly and allegedly pressurized by the culprits into pardoning them. 

1983 – Safia Bibi

An 18-year-old blind girl Safia Bibi was raped by her landlord and his son. A resident of (the-then) NWFP, Safia resultantly became pregnant. However, she was unable to prove her allegation of rape and was charged with fornication, and was sentenced to three years’ rigorous imprisonment, 15 lashes, and a fine of Rs. 1000 under the Hudood Ordinance. Her pregnancy was cited as extra-marital sex and her assailants were acquitted due to “want of evidence.” After the national and international protest, the Federal Shariat Court acquitted Safia of fornication on appeal.

1983 – Jehan Mina

A 13-year-old orphaned girl, Jehan Mina, was raped by her uncle and his son. The minor girl became pregnant too. However, she was unable to convince the court that she was raped. Instead, the poor girl was punished – 100 lashes and three-year rigorous imprisonment for Zina. The fact that she was pregnant was considered proof by the court that sex outside marriage had taken place.

27th of November 1991 – Farhana (Veena) Hayat

Late Benazir Bhutto’s 40-year-old close friend Farhana (Veena) Hayat, was gang-raped inside her own house in Karachi. According to the FIR, Veena said:

I was assaulted, raped, and tortured for 12 hours at gunpoint by five assailants who had gagged and tied up my domestic staff too.

Veena Hayat, daughter of a veteran Muslim Leaguer Sardar Shaukat Hayat and granddaughter of Sir Sikandar Hayat (chief minister of pre-partition united Punjab), blamed Irfanullah Khan Marwat, son-in-law of sitting Pakistani President Ghulam Ishaq Khan, for orchestrating her rape. Irfanullah Marwat denied the allegations and declared the FIR a political move to discredit him. On the 29th of December, the tribunal announced that there was no evidence on record to substantiate Veena’s accusation against Marwat. After Marwat’s acquittal, Veena moved out of Pakistan.

2002 – Mukhtaran Bibi

Mukhtaran Bibi, a 30-year-old woman, of Muzaffargarh district (Punjab) was gang-raped on the orders of the local village council as an “honor rape” after allegations that her 12-year-old brother had developed sexual relations with a woman from a higher caste. On the 1st of September 2002, an anti-terrorism court sentenced 6 men (including the 4 rapists) to death for rape. However, in 2005, the Lahore High Court acquitted 5 of the 6 convicted men due to insufficient evidence and commuted the punishment for the sixth man to a life sentence.

2005 – Dr. Shazia Khalid

An employee of a state-owned natural gas firm, Dr. Shazia Khalid, was raped in Sui (Balochistan). She was working at the company’s hospital for the past 18 months while living alone in a heavily guarded government-provided accommodation. The woman was strangled with a cord, threatened, blindfolded, pistol-whipped, beaten, and repeatedly raped by a powerful masked intruder. With her husband’s support, Shazia Khalid reported the crime, which led to a violent uprising by the Bugti tribe in restive Balochistan. The fuming protestors disrupted the supply of gas to much of the country for several weeks. However, nothing happened and in March 2005, Shazia and her husband left Pakistan on a flight to London. She later applied for asylum in Canada but her application was refused.

2008 – Firdaus Bibi

A widow named Firdaus Bibi was gang-raped in the same gas company’s residential compound. The case was registered against nine officials of the company and the security guards.

2007 – Kainat Soomro

A 13-year-old schoolgirl, Kainat Soomro, was kidnapped and gang-raped for four days in the native village of Mehar in Sindh. Kainat and her family then fled to Karachi where her brother was murdered and she was attacked twice—once at her house and the second time at the city court. The court ruled that the accused were innocent, stating that there was no corroborative evidence available on record. All four men accused of Kainat’s rape were hence acquitted. 

What are your thoughts on this? Please share with us in the comment section below.

  • What a shameful country where the rapists are acquitted and what a shameful article where others are mentioned but the army captains and culprits are not mentioned…. Now Khan should tell if all these innocent women were ill-dressed that they were raped??

    • I remember that captain whom Mushraf said that he is like my son and I guess that was the reason behind Bhugti murder as well as Bugti said that he will even die for the justice in Dr Shazia’s case. This Pakistan army is a shame to humanity, specially in Balochistan, they think that they are colonial masters there.

  • This is not Pakistan, this is Rapistan where the victims are blamed for whatever is happened to them… insane, really insane…. 🙁

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