Trainee nurse says she was abducted, gang-raped
By Mukhtar Alam
KARACHI: The trainee nurse who was recently sexually assaulted told a visiting member of the provincial assembly in a brief lucid moment on Saturday that she had been gang-raped after being forcibly taken into the doctor’s apartment.
As police investigators dispatched DNA samples for crucial tests to the Institute of Biomedical and Genetic Engineering in Islamabad, the Sindh health minister ordered the dismissal from services of the medico-legal officer who has already been booked and arrested for raping and trying to kill the trainee nurse, a third-year student of the School of the Nursing of the Jinnah Postgraduate Medical Centre.
The provincial Health Minister, Dr Sagheer Ahmad, was quoted as saying in a handout that the dismissal orders were issued upon the instructions of Muttahida Qaumi Movement chief Altaf Hussain.
In the few sentences that the rape victim managed to say to MPA Humera Alwani, whom she apparently took for a doctor, she urged that she be treated quickly so that she could narrate her ordeal.
The MPA, who is also a member of the Pakistan Nursing Council, told Dawn at the JPMC that the trainee nurse had told her that more than one person were involved in her rape.
“Please treat me at the earliest….I want to tell you all facts of the excesses committed to me. Three to four men were involved in the assault on me….They brought me to the hostel forcibly, covered in sheets of cloth,” said the MPA quoting the victim, stated to be regaining memory and other cognitive abilities.
Ms Alwani had gone to the JPMC to inquire about the health of the rape victim.
The victim was being managed by medical staff in the ICU for pain in the legs, and had regained consciousness the moment she arrived in the unit, the parliamentarian stated, adding that the victim had started talking to her because she probably took her (Ms Alwani) for a doctor.
She said she could not talk to the patient for long as she once again started to feel too drowsy to speak. “I, however, have assured the mother and an aunt of the rape victim that they would get justice and the culprits would be punished severely,” Ms Alwani said, adding that there was a great need to restore the confidence of the nursing staff in medical professionals.
A source privy to the meeting of the MPA with the victim and her family said that though the victim could not speak smoothly or coherently, it was for the first time that she said that more than one person were responsible for the sexual assault.
“My daughter, being from a poor family, will not get justice,” said the victim’s mother to the MPA amid sobs and tears.
The family also told the MPA that the victim’s father died when she was an infant, and that she had decided to take up nursing as a career on her own. Ms Alwani was also told that, before the July 13 sexual assault, the victim had told her family members that she was being harassed by some doctors.
As nurses had already resumed routine work, students of the school and college of nursing reported to their respective institutions on Saturday.
The principal of the College of Nursing, Rehana Afghani, said teaching could not resume due to thin attendance, but scheduled examinations were held on Saturday.
Mukhtari Perveez, an instructor at the School of Nursing, said that though students were still agitated over the incident, they had started taking classes. Since it was the first day of teaching after a gap of three days, classes were held partially, she said responding to a question.
Some students at the school said the hospital administration did not allow them to go out to protest on Saturday.
Neurosurgeon Dr Sattar Hashim, who is looking after the victim at the JPMC, told Dawn that the patient’s condition was improving. “She is much better now and her vitals are stable,” he said, adding that she would be able to move more steadily and talk smoothly in a day or two.
Responding to a question, he said he did not find the patient in a position to record her statement for police at the moment. She is out of danger, but is still suffering from the post-head injury amnesia (a condition in which memory is disturbed or lost), he said, adding that any stress at this stage could prove very dangerous to the victim’s health.
In the meantime, the provincial health department’s inquiry committee was not allowed to record the rape victim’s statement in view of her poor health.