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The story of E’s* life is heart-rending. The 30-year-old woman has been victim to forced conversion and marriage, prostitution, violence and trafficking in the last eight years.
Rabia Ali | Tribune Pk | Karachi | Aug 1, 2015:: Her ordeal raises questions about the sad state of women, who continue to remain deprived of basic human rights in society. Sitting in the Madadgaar National Helpline’s office covered from head to toe in a burka on Friday, E* narrated her painful journey, often breaking down into tears.
In 2008, the woman, a Hindu and belonging to Thatta, started talking to Muhammad Rahim on the phone. Rahim proposed to her, painting a rosy picture with a promise of getting married. “He said we would go to court and get married,” she said. But that never happened. According to her, Rahim took her to his village, Muhammad Siddiq Baloch, and locked her up.
Twenty days later, Rahim sold her to a man named Javed Khaskheli, and his brother, Khalid Hussain, who brought her to Nawabshah. Her days of prostitution and suffering began from there. She was also forced to change her religion and get married to Khaskheli.
She said that there were three other girls in the house she lived in but she was not able to talk to them much. “We were forced to work in the fields and do all the housework.”
E* described how she once tried to escape. Her plan foiled and the men poured kerosene oil on her and burnt her. She showed her arms with the burn marks, narrating how she sustained 60 per cent burns. According to her, she was later moved to Hyderabad as the men felt it wasn’t safe for them to remain in Nawabshah. E* recalled how she was once poisoned by her captors and had to be taken to the hospital.
The second day of Eid this month changed E’s* life as she managed to escape. “I returned home to my village in Thatta but was saddened to discover that my father, who was my only family, had died.” She came to Karachi to go to court and was referred to the Madadgaar National Helpline.
Her ordeal doesn’t end here as she is unable to get an FIR registered. When she went back to Thatta to press charges against the men, the Makli DSP asked her to strip. “Please give me justice,” she cried.
Lawyer and Madadgaar National Helpline founder Zia Ahmed Awan called it an act of terrorism that cases of violence against women are not being registered and condemned the attitude of the police. “We will go to court if her FIR is not registered.”
Awan said that more than 50 per cent of the women living in the country were being subjected to violence. “We also contacted Sharmila Farooqi but no action has been taken to provide justice to this woman.”
*Identity has been hidden to protect the survivor
Published in The Express Tribune, August 1st, 2015.