Barhama, Taxila: Sajid Khan and his wife Misbah thought they were doing an act of kindness to Muhammad Ashfaq, one of their relatives. Little did they know that it would become their biggest regret. Ashfaq’s wife had left his home earlier in June after a fight and he had asked the couple to send one of their six daughters over to his residence to give company to his young daughter. The couple's daughter returned to the village after a few weeks.

Earlier this month, the girl, Halima Sadia,13, complained to her mother that she had severe abdomen pains. It turned out she was five month’s pregnant. Scared and shaken, the girl revealed to her parents that Ashfaq, the man she used to call her uncle, had raped her thrice and threatened to kill her if she told anyone about it. 

Devastated and enraged, the couple rushed to Ashfaq’s house but he denied any wrong doing. A wealthy local businessman and an aspiring politician belonging to Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz, Ashfaq smooth talked the couple to let him take the daughter for another medical examination, claiming that the village medic might have been mistaken. 

But at a clinic in Wah Cantt, Rehman Medical Centre, he forcefully got an abortion done by bribing a female doctor, Sajid said during an interview with The Nation Saturday. 

“He told us to stay quiet or he will kill all of my family,” Sajid, a shopkeeper by profession, said, tears trickling down his cheeks.

A few days after the abortion, Ashfaq and his brothers, Asif and Amir, abducted Ghulam Farid, a relative of Sajid’s wife. They tortured him, stripped him naked and forced him to say that it was he who had rapped the little girl. 

Farid denied the allegations and lodged a case against Ashfaq and his brothers. Encouraged by the defiant attitude of Farid, Sajid also stepped out of his grief and silence and lodged a case against the alleged rapist and female lady doctor. 

“I am a poor man and harassed by the goons of Ashfaq to settle the dispute,” Sajid said. “I don’t want to spare him. I want justice.”

Sajid said police was making all efforts not to arrest the main accused. His two brothers have been detained but they were being given special protocol in the police lock up. “I am sure Ashfaq has bribed the local police,” Sajid said.

Police officials say Muhammad Ashfaq has secured a transit bail till Nov. 28. “We will soon arrest the accused,” said Muhammad Zarahat, a police sub-inspector. He denied that the police had accepted a bribe. He added that the lady doctor, Tallat Khurram, had also obtained a bail till Nov. 28. 

Attempts to reach Dr. Tallat were not successful. Her husband said the female doctor was herself not well and not available for comment. 

Muhammad Ateeq Tahir, Superintendent Police, said that he had ordered the Deputy Superintendent Police Taxila to personally investigate the case and submit a report. 

However, Sajid and his wife say that the police is not helping them and using delaying tactics to hush up the matter. They said they had high hopes with Chaudhry Nisar Ali Khan, the federal interior minister, and Shahbaz Sharif, Punjab chief minister, but their requests for help have remained in vain till now. Sajid said that no government official has approached him for help. 

Meanwhile, the ordeal for Halima, a sixth grade student, is not over, the grieving parents said. “The abortion was not done properly,” Sajid said. “My little daughter is struggling for life.”