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article imageRape victim dies after setting herself ablaze

By Greta McClain     Mar 16, 2014 in World
Muzaffargarh - An eighteen year old college student who was allegedly gang raped by five men set herself on fire in front of a local police station after the man accused of initiating the rape was released by officials.
The woman and her family reported the gang rape to Pakistan’s Bet Mir Hazar police in January of this year. After the report was filed, Nadir Khan was arrested for allegedly initiating the kidnapping of the victim and participating in the rape. The other suspects were not arrested.
According to the Deccan Herald , Khan was released from jail on Thursday after he reportedly paid 70000 Rupees (1142 U.S dollars or 821 Euros) to officials in exchange for being released on bail and declared innocent. Later, Law Minister Rana Sanaullah announced that Khan had indeed been granted bail and declared innocent of the charges. He went on to say that the five men had only attempted to rape the victim. He further stated that Khan was the brother-in-law of the victim and that the two families were involved in some type of business dispute.
Upon learning of the Khan’s release, the victim went to the Bet Mir Hazar police station and filed a complaint with the investigation officer, Zulfiqar Ahmad. Approximately 45 minutes later, the victim stood in front of the police station, poured gasoline over her clothing and set herself ablaze. According to The News, police officials were aware the victim planned to protest Khan’s release by setting herself on fire, but did nothing to try and stop her.
Bystanders doused the victim with dirt and sand in an attempt to put out the flames. Once the flames were extinguished, they transported the victim to Jatoi Civil Hospital. She was later taken to Nishtar Hospital where hospital offices reported the victim received severe burns over 70-80 percent of her body. She died of her injuries on Friday.
Chief Minister Punjab, Shahbaz Sharif, announced on Saturday that he had ordered the immediate arrest of three police officials involved in the initial rape investigation. Those arrested were Deputy Superintendent Police Muzaffargarh Chaudhry Asghar, Bait Mir Hazaar’s Station House Officer Idrees and Investigation Officer Rana Zulfiqar. He also suspended District Police Officer Muzaffargarh Usman Akram Gondal and Inspector General Punjab (IGP) and criticized police officials for negligence and not providing justice to the female student.
The Asian Human Rights Commission issued a statement
condemning law enforcement officials for its negligence in investigating the case and for failing to stop the victim from setting herself on fire.
The incident comes just 2 days after the release of a survey showing 20.65% of Pakistanis believe that violence is not an important issue for women in Pakistan.
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