A 12-year-old rape victim and her mother were saved by journalists and civil society activists on Wednesday after they set themselves on fire at Multan Press Club.
The girl, Samina*, had been protesting with her family including her mother in front of the Multan Press Club. She said she was raped by an 18-year-old son of a land lord on September 18. She said she had registered an FIR against him but the police took no action.
Samina said some policemen were claiming that was this was a family dispute.
The girl, a resident of Basti Ghaaghra in Muzafarabad, started protesting at the Multan Press Club with nearly a dozen members of her family, including her mother, early in the morning.
They chanted slogans against police and called on the government to take notice of the injustice.
During the protest, Samina and her mother doused themselves with petrol and set themselves alight.
The fire was put out by some journalists and civil society activists present at the scene. Two journalists suffered minor burns in the effort.
The girl’s mother told newsmen that the police had registered an FIR at Qutubpur police station against her husband Abdullah for kidnapping her daughter’s rapist.
“If my husband kidnapped him, how come he is freely roaming the city?”
She said her husband was arrested on Monday.
Muzaffarabad station house officer told The Express Tribune that investigation into the girl’s allegations was underway. He refused to comment until initial investigations were completed.
He denied knowledge of the arrest of the girl’s father, saying that might be an unrelated matter.
The Qutubpur station house officer said the girl’s father was involved in the kidnapping and initial investigations indicated that he was the leader of a kidnapping gang.
He said his family was protesting to protect him.
The protest continued for two hours, after which a Cantonment police team met with the protestors and negotiated with them.
They dispersed after being assured that those involved in kidnapping and raping the girl would be arrested.
*NAMES HAVE BEEN CHANGED TO PROTECT IDENTITIES