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When protectors become predators: The horrible rape case of a Karachi teenage boy in 2003

KARACHI: As the horrific serial child abuse case in Kasur rocked the country, there is also such instance in Karachi involving a single teenage boy who was sexually assaulted by cops in the metropolis back in 2003 and the ill-fated boy ended his life with a suicide.

The provision of justice remained a distant dream for the aggrieved family.

It was a fateful day on March 27, 2003 when the 12-year-old Muhammad Owais was returning home in Shah Faisal Colony when he was flagged down by two policemen at Colony Gate police kiosk.

The boy was an apprentice at a tailor’s shop.

Muhammad Owais – who was raped by policemen – committed suicide the next day of the incident on March 28, 2003.

The innocent boy didn’t have any idea about the sexual motives of the rogue cops.  The policemen first subjected the boy to physical search and then took him to an isolated spot where they sodomized him. One report suggested that the boy was forcibly taken to the basement of Faisal Shopping Complex where was he sexually assaulted.

After the horrific couple of hours, the boy was abandoned at a nearby spot. He returned home teary-eyed, straight went to a kitchen, doused himself with kerosene oil and set himself on fire. Owais narrated his elder brother the entire horrible episode who was taking him to a hospital. He had suffered over 70 percent burn injuries.

The boy died at the Civil Hospital on Friday morning next day.

One of the policemen – Muhammad Qasim – who raped the boy.

The inquiry officer of the case, Kamran Khan, had told a local newspaper that the past record of the two policemen, Abdullah, aged 40, and Dildar, aged 26, who were under arrest, spoke for itself.

“The two policemen were involved in similar criminal offences when their record files were examined,” he had said.

Abdullah and Dildar were arrested soon after the incident, and another policeman, Siddiqi, was taken into custody after couple of days. The fourth policeman, Fazal-i-Rabbi, was absconding and was never caught.

A police official, requesting anonymity had told a correspondent of a local newspaper “that the policemen involved in the incident used to get themselves posted at the Colony Gate, as it was one of the main entrances to Shah Faisal Colony. A large number of people disembarked from buses at this place and walked into the colony. This provided the policemen with an opportunity to select their prey, he added.”

Police constable Muhammad Qasim who later became known as Qasim Toori was among the four cops who subjected the boy to sexual abuse.

The investigation of the case did not take long to show the suspects innocent. As a result of weak inquiry they all were out while the downtrodden family of Owais was not in a position to fight a long-drawn legal battle against the perpetrators.

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