Hostel rape incident


It is unfortunate that horrific instances of rape keep coming to the forefront. This time, a 12-year-old student at a college in Murree was reportedly gang-raped by four individuals at gunpoint in the hostel. The case was reported to the police by the victim’s father after the distressed victim managed to vocalise what had transpired. An investigation began and subsequently the police team had to face significant resistance by staff and students at the college as negotiations to extradite the accused continued until late night.

It is not uncommon for institutions in Pakistan to protect their interests and repress heinous crimes that may tarnish their reputation. The same has happened in this case as well. The police report mentions that the victim reported the incident to the principal who, in turn, became hostile towards the victims and threatened that the victim would be “kicked out of the college if he made any mention” of it externally. In this regard, the law must extent its hand and the principal must be punished for deliberately concealing the incident. Moreover, the entire administration showed significant resistance during the investigation and the police will be taking due legal action against this. The incident also shows the prevailing immoral culture in college hostels across the country. A committee should be set up by the government to monitor and regulate how these hostels operate and the administration must be held accountable for any misdoings.

As for the accused, section 375 of PCC criminalises rape with the punishment of death or no less than 10 years in prison. If the perpetrators have committed this crime intentionally, while having full knowledge of what they were doing, then the harshest possible punishment must be meted out. Those abetting or concealing such crimes should also be punished as a form of deterrence.

Published in The Express Tribune, October 24th, 2022.

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