Monday Jan 20, 2020
KARACHI/SEHWAN: A woman who had accused a senior judicial magistrate of sexual assault said in a video statement Sunday that her alleged abuser told her that rape was the way to return to her husband.
Recording her statement with the police, the rape survivor confirmed that she had gone to the court with her husband and lawyer. Apart from them, her parents and paternal aunt were also there in the office.
The woman said the magistrate told her brother and father to leave his chambers. "The judge [juditicial magistrate] said he wanted to meet me alone," she stated.
On Saturday, the Sindh High Court had suspended the senior judicial magistrate at Jamshoro district's Sehwan court and an investigation was initiated against him.
As per the SHC's order, the civil judge was suspended over "misconduct" and directed to report to the High Court with immediate effect. Meanwhile, SHC Chief Justice Ahmed Ali Sheikh has ordered an official inquiry into the matter.
Earlier this week, the woman had appeared in the court after, according to credible local sources, she and her husband were arrested by Sehwan police from a local guesthouse on January 13. Their relatives had arrived at the guest house but the police then took the couple into custody.
The magistrate was only suspended from performing his duties and will continue to draw his salary during the period of his suspension.
The couple had wished to marry by choice and had, therefore, eloped after facing resistance from their family. In her initial complaint, the woman said the judicial magistrate in question had told his staff and police officials, including the lady constable, to leave the office then called her to his chambers where he allegedly raped her.
While a first information report (FIR) had not been filed at the Sehwan station at the time, police shifted her to Syed Abdullah Shah Institute of Medical Sciences (SASIMS) for medical examination. The report confirmed she was raped.
A senior police official told Geo News on condition of anonymity that an inquiry had already been conducted by a district and sessions judge who confirmed the sexual assault allegations against the magistrate. The judge had also recommended disciplinary action against him.
The magistrate, as of reporting time, was only suspended from performing his duties. The judge will continue to draw his salary during the period of his suspension, the SHC said.
On the other hand, a senior lawyer at Sehwan's bar association had told this reporter on condition of anonymity that while he could not verify the sexual assault, he could, however, confirm that he had heard about the incident and that, in this regard, the district's senior judicial officer visited Sehwan as part of his investigation.
The lawyer had added that this was not the first incident of its kind but that there had been complaints of similar offences against the same magistrate in the past as well.
Separately, SASIMS Director Dr Qazi Moin told Geo News he did not know anything about the accused but confirmed that the police did bring a woman to the facility for medical examination of rape and that samples had been sent to the laboratory.
The senior superintendent of police (SSP) for Jamshoro, Amjad Ahmed Shaikh, did not respond to multiple requests for comment.