Wednesday, June 29, 2005

Raped Pakistani doctor: I'm still terrified

BBC News:

A Pakistani doctor whose rape in the southern province of Balochistan last year sparked tribal clashes says she is still terrified.

"I was threatened so many times in Pakistan that I still feel scared," Dr Shazia Khalid told the BBC.

She is currently living in London and has spoken about the incident for the first time since leaving Pakistan.

Dr Khalid's rape led to a violent confrontation between Baloch tribals and the security forces.

"I cannot tell you how many times I was threatened. My life was made impossible. I am still terrified," she said in the interview with the BBC Urdu service.

Dr Khalid said she had never been satisfied with the inquiry conducted by the government into the incident.

"Instead of getting justice, I was hounded out of Pakistan," she said.

"I never wanted to leave Pakistan but I had no choice."

Dr Khalid was employed at a hospital managed by Pakistan Petroleum (PPL), the state-owned supplier of natural gas.

The PPL's installations are located near the town of Sui in Balochistan - a province that has seen great tension between Baloch tribals and security forces.

The tribals have been agitating for years for more autonomy and a share in the natural gas reserves.

They also oppose the construction of new military cantonments in the province.

Dr Khalid was raped at the hospital and an army officer was accused of the crime.

But the government declared the officer innocent, leading to violent clashes between tribesmen and the security forces in which eight people died in January.

Tribesmen say dozens of people were killed in sporadic clashes that lasted until March. The government disputes the casualty figures.

"My case led to so much death and destruction in Balochistan. So many children died because the doctors couldn't reach the hospitals during those violent times," Dr Khalid said.

"My whole career was destroyed, as was my husband's. That was why we left our country," she said.

Facing the awkward truth

Nicholas D. Kristof: Pakistan's victims

Pakistan: Fear for Safety: Dr Shazia Khalid (f), medical doctor

In support of Dr. Shazia Khalid


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