LAHORE - The police have revealed in an annual report that one female was assaulted sexually after every three hours and 40 minutes while one gang-rape incident occurred after every 45 hours and 38 minutes in 2013 in the most populated Punjab province.
Of 2,576 rape incidents reported last year, the victims in 167 cases were children. The five-year-old girl who was found dumped outside Sir Ganga Ram Hospital after being raped in Lahore in September was also among them.
As a matter of fact, the police quashed at least 654 FIRs by using various tactics to help the accused flee punishment. In 2006, the federal government had added three sections to the Pakistan Penal Code of 1860 which provide for death for rapists as the maximum punishment and an imprisonment not less than 10 years.
Experts cited several reasons for raise in rape incidents, including porn movies and faulty investigations.
Rahim Yar Khan topped the province in the number of rape cases reported last year with 222 followed by Faisalabad district with 214 criminal assaults.
Bahawalnagar district witnessed 141 incidents, Sheikhupura 102, Muzaffargarh 102 cases, Kasur recorded 77, Khanewal 68, Chiniot 74, Layyah 55 and 33 in Mandi Bahauddin. The rape and gang rape incidents committed during house robberies have not been mentioned in the report, sources said.
The police investigators have declared at least 19 cases of rape as “untraceable” while 230 are still under investigation. The report reveals that of total 2,576 reported cases, the investigators submitted to the courts the challans of only 1,673. Similarly, of 4,115 accused nominated in the rape cases, the police arrested 3,216, bringing the arrests ratio to 78 percent.
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. “If a victim is bold enough to fight the case to its logical end, she has to do it on her own as the elite civil society leaves her soon and the media gets other cases to report instead of following up her case,” the experts complained. A rape victim has to endure hardships in all forms and from everyone starting from a policeman to a lower court.
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.
Lahore district topped the province in the number of gang-rape cases with the figure being 51 in 2013 as compared to 40 such cases reported in 2012. With 21 cases of gang-rape, Gujranwala district was followed by Sheikhupura district with eight cases. Investigators declared two gang-rape cases as untraceable while 25 cases are still under investigations, with the prime suspects still at large. The police arrested only 482 criminals out of total 620 most wanted criminals.
The National Crisis Management Cell (NCMC), a subsidiary institution of the Interior Ministry, submitted a report to the Senate Standing Committee on Interior in October last, indicating that the country had witnessed a steep rise in the abduction and rape crimes in the last five years. Since 2008, the police had registered some 10,703 cases of rape across the country. Statistically, Punjab left all the other provinces behind with the police registering 8,806 of the total 10,703 rape cases.
Police sources revealed that only some rape victims dare to report to police while many of the assaulted women and children prefer to keep mum over the crimes either because of their family background or due to influential perpetrators. Some police investigators cite porn movies the main reason behind many of the rape incidents in which poor teenagers were assaulted especially in far-flung areas. They say that many of the accused interrogated in connection with rape cases confessed that they had committed the crimes after repeatedly watching porn movies. “We have noted in our observations that many of the rapists committed the crimes in frustration after watching porno movies by assaulting the victims in the neighborhood,” said a police investigator who investigated several criminals in Lahore during the last couple of years. The investigator, who preferred not to be named, also revealed that the accused mostly assaulted young children who were familiar with them.
In 2012, the then inspector general of the Punjab police had also told reporters that porno movies were the major reason behind the rise in rape incidents. The mushroom of internet cafes or porno material easily available in the local markets incited adults and men to commit the heinous crime in the society.
Thousands of fast-speed internet cafes have been operating in the big cities with no proper check, monitoring, or supervision, thanks to the authorities for not taking meaningful action against those spreading vulgarity in this otherwise conservative society. The police never launched a successful crackdown on the internet cafes for the law-enforcing agency treats the porno searching as a minor social crime.
According to a 2010 Fox News report, Pakistan, with above 20 million internet users, had outranked all other nations in global searches for pornographic material.