March Issue 2010

By | News & Politics | Published 10 years ago

Interview: Hamza Lubano, father of Naseema, a gang rape survivor

 

“We can never go back.

Only two of the offenders have been punished while the others, those who beat her, who abducted her, dragged her, who broke her spinal cord, have been allowed to return home. Those who have been acquitted now want to kill us. Any family member they find, they want to harm. They want us to withdraw the case and they pressurise our relatives, threatening us with dire consequences for not complying. Our extended family is back in the village. We have requested police security many times, to give the family protection so that they are not harmed. But this has not been done.

My children don’t even go down to play. They are always at home. There are doors and gates and locks. If we go out, we have to keep a low profile. We are always scared of being found by those people. Mentally, there is so much tension. One child, we are sending to school, but the rest of the children are being taught at home, thanks to our advocate who is providing for them.

We will live our entire lives in fear. Even if the ones who have been let off are caught, their progeny will remain. We have been struggling for so long; my 12-year-old expired in the process. We didn’t even have money to bury him, WAR helped us with that. We too will be buried here.

All my children are sick, both of us, husband and wife are sick. I am paid Rs 7,000 out of which Rs 3,000 is spent on fare and other expenses. Four thousand rupees is too little to keep the house running. Naseema is currently on medication. She needs nutrition and if she doesn’t get it, she is not even able to sit up. We don’t have anything. If we had, we would give it to her. We are living like immigrants here.

The governor of Sindh brought us to Karachi at the time when there were countrywide processions and protests. We were told that you are eight people, even if there were 2,000, the government would bear the cost of housing them, educating all the children including Naseema, give Naseema a house, get her justice. Then we were told, 10 days and justice will be delivered, the culprits will be apprehended. No such thing has happened. The criminals are roaming freely. After bringing us here, he kept no contact with us. What was the use of us contacting him when he kicked us out of the house?

He had put us up in a house in the police lines in Garden area, and after seven or eight months, we were thrown out of there. The whole world was a witness to that. The police, including officers at high posts, arrived with constables who picked up our belongings and threw them out. It was the day when several people died in the monsoon rains. In that storm, they threw us out onto the streets. They said Naseema had been given the house on a temporary basis and because she did not belong to the police, we could no longer live there.

We called out to everyone. You can see our pictures in the press, the way we were all out in the rain, how Naseema and the rest of the children were drenched. The roads were inundated with water, and in that storm, we sat on the curb outside the Karachi Press Club.

Then, Shazia Marri provided us with this place where we are currently living. It has been given to us on instalments, which we have also not been able to pay beyond the five or six initial ones.”

This post is a sidebar in a larger article, Fight to the Finish

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Farieha Aziz is a Karachi-based journalist and teacher. She joined Newsline in 2007, rising to assistant editor. Farieha was awarded the APNS award for Best Investigative Report (Business/Economic) for the year 2007-2008. She is a co-founder and Director at Bolo Bhi, an advocacy forum of Digital Rights.