CAPC Freelance Journalist
Pakistan Faisalabad. A 14- year-old teenage girl, Mehik Masih, was raped by her Muslim step father over a period of 4 months after being abducted on October 2nd, 2019. The criminal case was registered at the police station after a delay of 4 months. The accused, Shahid Ali 41, had married the girl’s mother, Tahira Bibi, alias Iram Fatima, on April 6, 2019, after she converted from her religion and embraced Islam. The mother of the victim, and other three minor girls, began living with the accused. Mehik began to observe some changes in the behavior of her stepfather. She found him watching her while bathing, while also observing predatory behavior towards her younger sisters. He began to touch her inappropriately. Due to this shameful and obnoxious behavior, Mehik tried to avoid facing him, also advising her younger sisters not to meet with their stepfather alone.
After telling her mother of the stepfather’s behavior, she asked her to tell him to stop this shameful and improper behavior. The mother, Tahira Bibi, then took their daughters back to her ex- husband’s home.
On October 02, 2019 at 12:30 a.m., the accused, Shahid Ali, arrived at the residence. He apologized and tried to pacify her mother and family. He offered orange juice to her mother and father to drink, and after drinking the juice, they both became unconscious. He then abducted the girl at gun point and took her away, raping her multiple times. He also captured nude videos through hidden cameras and threatened to release them on social media if she did not remain silent. Mehik tried to resist; and begged him to allow her to go back to her parents, but she was refused. The stepfather then at gun point got her signature and thumb impression on various plain and stamped papers. After a few days Mehik was told that she was now the wife of the accused; and could not go back to her family. This revelation was shocking to her, as she had been resistant. She was also threatened by the accused that her parents would be burned to death if she stood against him at any stage.
The victim was a minor, innocent, and belonging to a vulnerable society. Because of the sexual assault, the threats at gun point, the immoral pictures and video captured by the accused; she kept silent to try to maintain the respect of her reputation and morality. The delay to initiate criminal proceedings was also due to to the illiteracy of her parents, poverty, improper legal assistance and guidance, duress and pressure from political and religious dignitaries, and the severe threats of dire consequences extended by the accused.
Mehak was recovered from the home of her stepfather by the local police, to stand before the area magistrate at the police station in Faisalabad. She was pressured by the judge to turn down the demand for a medical examination and to record a statement. The victim felt intimidated; and was not aware of the consequences of this refusal. She also acted in haste to be able to join her family, and to be rid of the presence of the abusive stepfather.
Mehik asked the court to hand over her custody to her mother. However, subsequent to this painful and traumatic episode, she has been psychologically affected and has exhibited signs of depression. She has avoided being with other people, and with her depression and grief, she seems unable to start living a normal life. After few months, Mehik also discovered that she was pregnant, again giving rise to heightened stress and unbearable mental torture.
Mehik is requesting medical and psychological treatment to try to deal with this trauma. She said she has fought thoughts of suicide multiple times.
The legal experts have encouraged her to stand for justice. She was inspired by the brave woman that was raped on the motorway in front of her three children on the night of September 9, 2020. Mehik has decided to fight for her freedom and justice. She is determined to pursue her case; however, she cannot afford the legal fees.
Meanwhile, the accused, Shahid Ali, was awarded bail from the session court after declaring his stepdaughter as his wife. This declaration is against both the civic and Islamic sharia laws. This illegality and injustice happened because of the non-perusal of the case by the victim’s poor family, by the restrictions of the COVID-19 situation, and by life threats extended by the accused.
Mehik gave birth to a baby girl in hospital on September 27, 2020.
On October 2, 2020, while she was still in the hospital, her stepfather, along with a female co-accused, barged into the maternity ward of the hospital and tried to kill Mehik and her new-born baby girl in order to try to expunge evidence of the criminal case pending before the session court for trial.
Mehik and her family are desperately looking for legal assistance. This new case has been filed in court, but the local police are reluctant to arrest Shahid Ali.
Mehik have requested to CAPC Pakistan for a legal Aid and protection. This is urgent need to save the lives of this victim’s family and to provide them with safe shelter. There is also a need for raised voices to stand for justice; to put the accused behind bars for the abduction and rape of a minor, as well as for the attempt to kill her and her new born baby.