Daily-wage laborer struggles to seek justice for his daughter four years after she was raped and murdered
"My world collapsed. Seeing my daughter in such a state was the most difficult time of my life."
On the 31st of January 2016, daily-wage laborer Faiz Rehman found the body of his six-year-old daughter Pakeeza in the underground water tank of a wedding hall that he had visited with his wife a week ago.
“My world collapsed. Seeing my daughter in such a state was the most difficult time of my life. Later, my pain became so intolerable that I thought of ending my life,” says the sobbing father. “But when the police said that the inquiries revealed that my daughter had been raped before she was dumped into the tank, I told my wife that we have to live and seek justice for Pakeeza.”
The police detained 19 people on suspicion of the rape and murder and charged them after a year.
The incident was huge enough to find a place in the headlines for a night. Politicians of the area visited Rehman and promised assistance, while popular TV morning shows invited Faiz and his wife to express solidarity. However, just after a week, all the support fizzled out. The couple was left alone to fight the case of their daughter in a district court against the nominated wedding hall owners and their staff.
Lawyers refused to take the case
When lawyers declined to take the case because of Faiz’s financial condition, the bereaved father appeared before the court without a lawyer. When approached for adjustment, he refused.
Rehman was given the DNA report of the deceased after a delay of five months. Interestingly, according to the report, no semen was found inside the body, which was a glaring contradiction to the initial chemical examination.
Nearly four years later, on the 15th of November 2019, the court rejected the medical board’s recommendation by calling it an ‘opinion’. On the benefit of the doubt, the court acquitted all the suspects, stating them as being innocent.
The wedding hall, which had remained closed for being a crime scene, opened again with a huge celebration, a week after the ruling.
“I spent all my savings for seeking justice for my daughter,” says Rehman. “And in the end, the court says to me, sorry, your daughter was raped and murdered but because the police botched the investigation and, as there were no witnesses, we are releasing the suspects.”
“Where is the justice? What have I done wrong that the state doesn’t honor Pakeeza’s death? Is it because I am poor and have no rights to enjoy? I have been wronged, not only by the offenders but also by the state,” Faiz said in a trembling voice and uncontrolled tears in his eyes.
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