Khurram Shahzad Victor has been camping outside LPC for three months in ‘search of justice’ while facts negate rape claim
Victor, involved in a property dispute with his family, misused daughters for settling personal vendetta
Police, NGO involved in case say Victor repeatedly avoided requests for conducting DNA tests of alleged rape victims
Rights activist Jibran Nasir apologises for uploading video without verifying story; says Victor should lose custody of his children
LAHORE: Many cases of sexual abuse and rape have come to public attention in the wake of the Kasur tragedy but one such case that has emerged on the social media is of a man who has been camping outside the Lahore Press Club for the past three months “in search of justice” for his three minor daughters that he alleges were raped by his relatives in Sialkot in April last year.
The man, who goes by the name of Khurram Shahzad Victor, has claimed that his brother and other family members raped his three minor daughters and allegedly abducted one of them in a bid to pressurise him to withdraw the case.
However, a detailed investigation by Pakistan Today has revealed that there’s more than what meets the eye in this particular case, as both the police and the non-government organisation that initially took up his case have accused Victor of making up the story to blackmail his relatives over a five-marla property in Maryam Colony area of Sialkot.
According to Victor, his wife passed away a year ago, leaving behind six minor daughters.
“I worked at a football stitching unit in Sialkot and had to leave my daughters home alone to go to work. I have a property dispute with my elder brother and cousins over our five-marla family house, therefore, I am not on speaking terms with them. However, they continued to visit my house in my absence and this is when I noticed that my daughters were being subjected to sexual assault,” he claimed.
Victor claims that when he “found out” that his children were being subjected to assault, he approached the police for registration of a case against the suspects but his pleas “fell on deaf ears”. According to him, when his relatives found out that he was seeking police action, they abducted his eldest daughter from a local shrine.
The man went on to allege that after police refused to register his case, he took his remaining five daughters to Islamabad where he set up a camp outside the National Press Club for three months to “highlight his plight”. It was there he made contact with CLAAS [Centre for Legal Aid Assistance and Settlement] who assured him that they would pursue the case on his behalf.
Victor claimed that while CLAAS managed to get a case registered with regard to his daughter’s abduction after moving a local court in Sialkot, they abandoned the case after some months.
NO EVIDENCE IN SUPPORT OF CLAIMS:
Interestingly, when Pakistan Today asked Victor if he had medical reports to substantiate the claim of his daughters’ alleged rape, the man shied away from a direct answer, insisting that “a father knows when his children have been assaulted”.
Intrigued by the man’s ‘intuition’, Pakistan Today contacted CLAAS Chairman Joseph Francis to ascertain the facts.
“It’s true that we provided legal assistance to Victor for registering the alleged abduction case of his daughter. However, when the police asked him to bring his daughters for DNA tests to verify the rape allegations, Victor refused to cooperate. We also offered to provide his children shelter at one of our homes on the condition that he would find work while we would take care of the kids. However, he mysteriously vanished one day, taking the kids with him. I haven’t heard from him since,” he said.
Francis added that upon further investigation, his field officers found out that Victor is using his children to trap relatives in an ongoing property dispute.
“If anyone is a danger to the well-being of his daughters, it’s the man himself,” he said.
Behram Masood, the man who uploaded Victor’s video, told Pakistan Today that he came to realise after uploading the video that his story is “dubious”.
“He changes his story, tells everyone a different version,” he added.
Sub-Inspector Zahid Butt, the investigation officer of the case, told Pakistan Today that contrary to Victor’s claim, his allegedly abducted daughter, Suman, has been enrolled in the Bara Pathar boarding school of the Church of Pakistan since April 2017.
“As far as the allegation of rape is concerned, all the medical tests have proved to be negative and Victor was asked multiple times to bring his daughters for a DNA test, but he never came.”
“Police dismissed the case on the basis of false evidence and non-appearance of the complainant,” he further said.
Sialkot District Police Officer Asad Sarfraz echoed Butt’s statement.
“A thorough investigation into the case was carried out and it transpired after medical examination that none of the girls was raped. Victor has a property dispute with his first cousins, belonging to the Christian community, against whom he made accusations. The inquiry was comprehensive, transparent and merit-based,” said Sarfraz.
He lamented that it has become a culture on social media that unverified information is shared, which is unfortunate.
SOCIAL MEDIA FALLS PREY TO ‘DUBIOUS’ VIDEO:
Meanwhile, the video sparked uproar on social media as many people fell prey to the “dubious” story, including prominent human rights activist Jibran Nasir.
“Commissioner Chaudhry Shafiq of National Commission of Human Rights joined us to meet #KhurramShehzadVictor and took notice of the matter. Child Protection Bureau also visited offering to provide shelter for his children however Khurram refused lamenting Govt’s late response. We have tasked friends in Sialkot to get out the complete record of his case file as Khurram didnt have all documents available with him to see how we can legally assist him in the matter,” Jibran wrote in a Facebook post.
He also uploaded a video with a caption: “Appeal for #KhurramShehzadVictor of Sialkot who has been sitting outside Lahore Press Club since 3 months with his five daughters protesting against lack of action by Government and Police against culprits who sexually abused three of his daughters and has abducted one of them.”
Later in the day, Jibran Nasir, talking to Pakistan Today, apologised for uploading the video without verifying the story first, saying: “I take full responsibility for my posts through my accounts.”
“It’s hard to fathom that people can use their own children, make up stories of rape and put them through severe trauma,” he lamented.
Justifying uploading the video on the social media, he said: “As humans, we are inclined to trust the good in others. As activists, we take risks for the welfare of others.”
He also criticised senior journalists and newspapers for falling for the story.
Urging the child protection bureau to take Victor’s children, Jibran said, “A father willing to put his children through trauma isn’t fit to have their custody. The government should think about the welfare of Khurram’s daughter.”
Speaking to Pakistan Today, rights activist Shakeel Naz lamented that such videos have surfaced in the wake of Kasur tragedy.
“What has happened in Kasur is soul-wrenching, and people are using the situation for personal gains,” he said.
“The least we can do is to verify the news before posting it on the internet,” he concluded.