Gilgit, December 19: In a landmark decision, Justice Shahbaz Khan of Anti-Terrorist Court has condemned Nadeem Abbas, central figure in Nurse Shabana Akhtar rape and murder case, to death.
Main accomplice, Jamila Bibi – warden of the midwifery hostel where the 22 year old nurse was raped and hanged, has been sentenced to life-imprisonment, with an additional punishment of 300,000 rupees in fine.
Another accomplice, watchman of the midwifery hostel named Jalaludin, has been punished with 7.6 years in prison. He has also been asked to pay 200,000 rupees to the family of Nurse Shabana Akhtar, according to the verdict read by Justice Shahbaz inside the court room, in presence of the criminalsl.
Two accused employees of the District Headquarters hospital, Medical Officer Dr. Wazir and Dr. Dilshad Begum, were declared innocent and set free.
The verdict came after 26 days of hearing. Statements of 23 witnesses were recorded by the court to reach the decision. The state was represented by Public Prosecutor, Mir Muhammad and his assistant Yusuf Jan, while Nadeem Abbas was represented by Advocate Zia-ur-Rehman and Advocate Tanzeel-ur-Rehman. Advocate Amjad Hussain represented Dr. Wazir and Dr. Dilshad of the DHQ Hospital, Gilgit, who had been arrested on charges of declaring the death as “suicide”.
On hearing the verdict, Jamila Bibi fainted inside the court room and had to be taken away in a police van. Shock was written all over the faces of Nadeem Abbas and Jalal, the two men charged with rape and murder of the 22 year old nurse.
The body of Shabana Akhtar had to be exhumed and re-examined, to establish the fact that she had been murdered and it wasn’t a case of suicide, as the police and doctors had initially believed.
It is pertinent to note that the 22 year old nurse, Shabana Akhtar hailing from Astore District, was found hanging to the ceiling of her hostel room on May 13, 2011.
Months of investigation led to the arrest of the main accused, who had almost successfully tried to present the murder as a case of suicide, with the support of hostel warden, Jamila Bibi. Nadeem Abbas also tried to mislead the investigators by trying to involve one of his friends, who was initially arrested by the police but released later on.
Public circles have hailed the decision and appreciated the police for efficiently investigating the case and bringing the criminals in the grip of law.
It is pertinent to mention that violence against women is traditionally present in the entire Gilgit – Baltistan region, in one form or the other. Majority of the cases of honour-killing go unreported, or are presented as suicide, to protect the criminals.
If not for the insistence of Shabana Akhtar’s family, this case may also have remained hidden. The brother and father of Shabana Akhtar, during the course of investigation, had to organize a press conference in Gilgit to seek justice.
1. Incident report (www.pamirtimes.net)
2. Suspicions arise (www.pamirtimes.net)
3. Brother alleges distortion of facts (www.pamirtimes.net)
4. Health Department’s Response (www.pamirtimes.net)
5. Arrest of doctors (www.pamirtimes.net)
6. Arrest of Hostel Warden (www.pamirtimes.net)
7. Confession (www.pamirtimes.net)