A couple from Islamabad who was held hostage and harassed by a group of alleged goons is in the news, now for odd reasons. In developing countries, the justice system rarely provides relief to those belonging to the middle and lower-middle classes and in this stratum, the most vulnerable are women, children, elders, and religious minorities. Therefore, many times these unprotected citizens steer clear of the courts and try to solve matters outside or refuse to report a crime that takes place against them. Pakistan is one such place where the judiciary has oftentimes disappointed people, which results in victims not showing up for hearings as the law enforcement agencies fail to provide adequate security to them. The recent case that caught countrywide attention was that of an Islamabad couple who were harassed by a group of four persons who held the couple at gunpoint and forced them to strip after which they beat them. The limelight was drawn upon this case when a clip showing this heinous act went viral on social media as it was filmed by one of the assailants and posted on his TikTok account.
In September, primary suspect Usman Mirza, and co-accused Hafiz Ataur Rehman, Adaras Qayyum Butt, Rehan, Umar Bilal Marwat, Mohib Bangash, and Farhan Shaheen were arrested by the police. Court hearings have been going on, however, recently it was revealed that the female victim had retracted her statement due to unsaid reasons. The State of Pakistan, however, was to pursue the case anyway as revealed by Parliamentary Secretary for Law Maleeka Bokhari.
The reasons for retraction may remain unsaid, however, it doesn’t take a genius to understand that it is an issue of safety. The state is in pursuit of the case, but the victim does not feel safe and must have been blackmailed by the accused. There are reports that both sides have struck an out-of-court deal, frustrating the state’s efforts to reach the case to a logical conclusion. Therefore, the couple did not show up at the court hearing on Tuesday, and on Wednesday, the male victim said he did not remember which shirt he was wearing on the fateful day. It is imperative in this case to be judged in favour of the victims and the accused be given a hard sentence so that a precedent is set and no such act can occur again. However, it must be understood that the court cannot harass the victims further by issuing warrants against them. It is highly unsettling and traumatic.