LAHORE: Police probe into many criminal cases never reach a logical conclusion because of multiple factors – ranging from cash compensation to intimidation, and faulty investigations to non-registration of heinous crimes. During the course investigations, most of the victims are left with no other choice except to reconcile with the accused parties. The alleged rape of a 22-year-old housemaid by a foreign national in Lahore’s DHA is a case in point.

After being humiliated by police, a 22-year-old housemaid accepted cash compensation and withdrew a complaint she had filed against a foreign national who abused her sexually at his house in Defence Housing Authority. The six-month-pregnant lady had been running from pillar to post to get justice but the police refused to register a criminal case against the alleged rapist, identified as Mr Sheen, a Korean national currently living in DHA (47/Y-Block).

The father of the victim said the police were ‘backing the accused after accepting huge bribe.’ “After being humiliated by senior officers, we were left with no other choice except to reconcile and take back the complaint,” the ill-fated father said with sobbing eyes. We don’t trust police any more, he added.

In her application, the resident of Baseerpur, district Okara, says she was raped by the Korean national on August 21. According to the victim, she was interviewed for the job of housemaid by Mr Sheen on August 16. Five days later, she was cleaning one of the rooms when Mr Sheen entered there and locked it from inside. The man, according to the victim, pushed her down on the bed and raped her. She said that she made hue and cry but Mr Sheen did not spare her. “Since I was six-month pregnant, I fell unconscious during the sexual assault.”

According to her, Mr Sheen sought an apology over criminal assault and offered her cash to keep mum. But she along with her parents went to the police station to initiate legal action against him. The police neither registered a rape case against the Korean businessman nor referred the victim to any hospital for medical examination despite the elapse of two weeks. “We were told by the Defence police that there were no evidences available to take any legal action against Mr Sheen. The police deliberately delayed the action. We were kicked out from the police station,” her father said.

A senior police officer, when contacted, said that the “rape incident” was already in his notice. “Actually, we decided to investigate the matter before registering a rape case against a foreign national. Mr Sheen is not in Pakistan these days. We are looking into the matter,” the officer said, who preferred his name not to be mentioned. When pointed out that the police did not obtain the medical examination of the victim despite the elapse of two weeks, the officer said, “She is not medically examined? Let me check it (Why cops did not do that).”

It is not clear whether Mr Sheen had flown out of Pakistan to skip sex abuse charges or he went abroad on a routine tour. However, the father of the victim believes that Mr Sheen is present at his house and the police never raided the place. “I had no choice except to withdraw the application since the police were backing the rapist.”

By using various means, the powerful police force the victims to reconcile with the accused persons. The corruption-riddled police prefer Punchayat system to settle crimes cases instead of investigating the crimes on merit and by using modern techniques. The cash compensation is also a worrisome factor in our criminal justice system since the poor families accept money and the rich and influential escapes punishments.

Legal experts say that the existing criminal justice system discourages rape victims and benefits perpetrators only. Decision of a rape case could take seven to 10 years and ultimately it ends with acquittal of the accused, they argue. As far as gang-rape cases are concerned, the Punjab police reported 193 cases of gang rape from January to December 2013. Among the gang-rape victims, 13 were children.

In its annual report in 2013, the police revealed that one female was assaulted sexually after every three hours and 40 minutes. In the case of Raymond Davis who had gunned down two young men in Lahore, both the families were reportedly paid 200m rupees, $2.22m, with around $250,000 going to the two widows. Hence, the alleged killer secured released by paying money.

In August, the complainant and the key witness to the murder of 16-year-old Zain Rauf said he did not recognise the accused Mustafa Kanju, who is the son former federal minister Siddique Kanju. Muhammad Sohail Afzal, a relative of Zain, had appeared before the court and recorded his statement, contending that he did not recognise the accused.

Also, Shan Khusro, son of former Lahore division commissioner Khusro Pervez, was acquitted of murder charge after legal heirs of Hamza Elahi recorded their pardon before the court.