Sohail Johnson, Chief Coordinator of Sharing Life Ministry Pakistan (SLMP) has condemned the alleged rape of a Christian nursing student by a Muslim doctor on Tuesday, July 13, 2010.
|Mr. Sohail Johnson seen praying for
According to Mr. Johnson Magdalene Ashraf, 22, a student of third year at the Jinnah Post Graduate Medical Centre in Karachi was allegedly raped by Dr. Abdul Jabbar Memon.
DAWN, Pakistan’s English daily newspaper has quoted Magdalene as telling police and health department’s inquiry team on Tuesday, July 20, 2010, that Dr. Abdul Jabbar, former Medico-Legal Officer (MLO) raped her on July 13.
The newspaper quoted her as saying that she was neither abducted nor gang-raped as suggested recently by a woman lawmaker recently.
The newspaper said that the police investigators recorded her statement under Section 161 (examination of witnesses by police) of the Criminal Procedure Code in which the victim is said to have declared that she did not know the MLO and met him for the first time on July 13.
It quoted sources, privy to the contents of her statement, as saying that on July 13 at about 2.45 pm, after finishing her routine training, she was heading towards a bus stop to go home in Korangi, when a colleague insisted that she go along with her to the apartment of the MLO who, being influential, could help her obtain better marks in exams.
The DAWN report said that she reached the MLO’s apartment in the residential area of the Jinnah Post Graduate Medical Centre where, along with her colleague, she saw another man, later identified as a private servant of the MLO.
|Nurses protesting against alleged rape of Magdalene Ashraf|
“The nurse was later left alone inside the apartment where the MLO allegedly sexually assaulted her. She jumped out of the kitchen window when the suspect became violent and slapped her several times across the face,” DAWN quoted a police official who was part of the investigation team as saying.
The convener of the health department inquiry committee, Dr Abdul Majid, told DAWN that the girl victim said in her statement that the MLO raped her and when she tried to escape he became extremely violent and threw her off the kitchen window from his first-floor apartment.
“She denied the presence of any other person inside the apartment when the doctor allegedly sexually assaulted her. Similarly, going through her statement, one can’t find any signs of abduction of the victim,” the police official told DAWN.
The report went on to say that the statement of the trainee nurse was at variance with the claim made by Member Provincial Assembly, Humera Alwani, during her interaction with the media last week that the victim herself told her that she had been abducted and gang-raped.
It said the police, however, believed that the MLO’s driver and the victim’s colleague, who persuaded her to visit the MLO’s apartment, had already gone into hiding after the incident.
“With these two new names, relevant Sections of the Pakistan Penal Code will be incorporated in the FIR [First Information Report] that had been lodged at the Saddar police station,” DAWN quoted the Senior Superintendent of the police, Amir Farooqi, of Jamshed Town, who is heading the police investigation team, as saying. “We are trying hard to get hold of the two persons and I hope that they will soon be arrested.”
Christians condemn alleged rape of the trainee nurse
|Sohail Johnson addressing a press conference
Meanwhile, Mr. Johnson of SLMP told ANS that he addressed a press conference in Karachi on Sunday, July 18, 2010, about the alleged incident.
He said that Shella, the alleged rape victim’s sister, also joined him at the press conference.
Mr. Johnson told the assembled media, “This is not the very first incident in which a rich person has raped a girl from the deprived family. These kind of incidents are on the rise in Pakistan. It is shameful that a doctor has raped Magdalene. Higher authorities of Government are neglecting this situation and are trying to save Dr. Abdul Jabbar Memon.
“Today, we along with aggrieved family and the victim of rape, Magdalene, appeal to the media to break all the hurdles in their way to reach justice by performing their duty honestly.”
He added, “We appeal to Mr. Iftikhar Muhammad Chaudhry, the Chief Justice of Pakistan, Mr. Asif Ali Zardari, President of Pakistan, Mr. Syed Yousaf Raza Gillani, Prime Minister of Pakistan, Chief Justice of Sindh High Court, Governor Sindh, the Chief Minister, Minster of Health and other all religious and political parties through this press conference that they all take the notice of Magdalene’s rape and start the judicial inquiry from the Sindh High Court and provide justice to Magdalene Ashraf.”
He told journalists, “We appeal to all human rights organizations and Pakistan Nursing Council Federation to provide moral support to Magdalene Ashraf and protest against this cruel incident.”
Mr. Johnson continued by saying, “We also appeal to the management of Agha Khan Hospital not to shield Dr. Abdul Jabbar Memon by providing him shelter in the hospital like the culprit of Shazia’s murder case in Lahore Muhammad Naeem Advocate was illegally supported by hospital management.”
He told the newsmen: “We would urge management of Agha Khan hospital to maintain reputation and respect of this Godly profession by providing justice and handing over Dr. Abdul Jabbar to the police so that investigation can be proceeded and supporters of Magdalene may not be stand against Agha Khan Hospital.”
Led by Mr. Sohail Johnson, the Sharing Life Ministry Pakistan’s team met with the Deputy inspector General (D.I.G), Home Secretary and the police investigation team on Monday, July 19, 2010, and discussed with them about Magdalene’s situation.
Mr. Johnson claimed that as a result of press conference the Aga Khan hospital’s management handed over Dr. Jabbar to the police on July 19, 2010.
Mr. Johnson told ANS that workers of the Muttahida Qaumi Movement (MQM), a popular political party in Karachi, had contacted SLMP and pledged that it will do “all it can to ensure that justice is done to the Christian girl.”
The Sharing Life Ministry Pakistan has now hired a lawyer to pursue Magdalene’s case.
Suspect denies rape
In his statement recorded under Section 161 of the Criminal Procedure Code, the MLO conceded that the trainee nurse was present at his apartment on July 13 but denied that he assaulted her sexually.
“He claimed that on that day, he picked up the trainee nurse from her residential area in Korangi in a friend’s car, and both of them reached his apartment,” said an investigator quoting the suspect’s statement.
“During their stay at the apartment, they had some altercation and the MLO became violent and slapped the trainee nurse, who cried for help. In the meanwhile, somebody knocked at the door of the apartment and they became scared that they had been spotted by some people.”
The suspect told the police that he asked the trainee nurse to leave his apartment through the kitchen window. However, she lost her balance, fell down and sustained a serious head injury.
“The suspect said that a few minutes after the nurse was spotted lying injured on the ground and taken to the emergency unit for treatment, he noticed that people started gathering outside his apartment. This made him scared and he decided to escape through the kitchen window, but he also fell down,” the official quoting the suspect’s statement told DAWN.
Meanwhile, Advocate Javed Chattari, who said he represented the victim, told newsmen at the hospital that there was enormous pressure on his client and her family members to change her initial statement.
The Jinnah Post Graduate Medical Centre spokesperson, Dr Azhar Khan, who recently replaced Additional Director Dr Seemi Jamali, said that the main concern of the hospital was to ensure the victim’s best treatment and it had nothing to do with police investigations.
Dan Wooding, Assist News Service