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Last Updated: Wednesday, 31 August 2005, 12:32 GMT 13:32 UK
Rape-case police chief suspended
Shaukat Aziz
Prime Minister Shaukat Aziz has ordered an inquiry
Authorities in Pakistan have suspended a police chief accused of ordering the rape of a married woman who was seeking the release of her detained husband.

Faisalabad police chief Khalid Abdullah was removed from his post after PM Shaukat Aziz ordered an inquiry into allegations against his department.

Mr Abdullah has denied any wrongdoing, accusing the woman of lying.

Hundreds of women are raped in Pakistan every year but only a fraction of the cases are reported.

Strict action will be taken against all those found involved in this incident
Shaukat Aziz

The chief justice of Pakistan's Supreme Court, Iftikhar Chaudhry, has asked for a full report from the provincial authorities to be given to him in 10 days.

The 23-year-old woman said she was kept in illegal confinement for 15 days and raped by a police officer as "punishment" for seeking to publicise the detention of her husband.

The officer accused of the crime was suspended on Tuesday.

The woman said Mr Abdullah had ordered her rape.

"Strict action will be taken against all those found involved in this incident," Mr Aziz told parliament on Tuesday.

Suicidal thoughts

The BBC's Aamer Ahmed Khan says the woman's husband had been arrested by Faisalabad police for allegedly forging documents for stolen vehicles.

In April his wife went to the National Assembly to try to meet lawmakers to help her secure her husband's release.

Mukhtar Mai after her Supreme Court ruling
Mukhtar Mai fought a high-profile case to bring her attackers to justice

Her pleas fell on deaf ears as the authorities were more concerned with the security breach that had allowed her to enter the parliament building.

She was handed over to Faisalabad police and released a month later.

The woman said she was abducted from Lahore soon after her release, blindfolded and handcuffed and driven to a house where she was kept for 15 days and raped by a police officer.

She told a local TV channel on Tuesday that she wanted to kill herself but was stopped by "the cries of my two small children".

The suspended official told Associated Press that the woman was a "liar" and that people who knew her were aware of her "bad character".

A three-member police team has been set up to conduct the inquiry.

Pakistan has witnessed a number of high-profile rape cases in recent months.

The most highly publicised is the case of Mukhtar Mai, 33, who was raped in Punjab province in 2002, allegedly on the order of a village council.

Since then she has become an icon in the campaign for women's justice in conservative Pakistan.

This week, tribal council members in Karachi were accused of preventing a rape case being reported to police.

The council instead allegedly imposed a fine on the accused.



SEE ALSO:
Tribal council rape ruling probed
29 Aug 05 |  South Asia
New Pakistan rape suspects held
06 Jul 05 |  South Asia
Mukhtar Mai - history of a rape case
28 Jun 05 |  South Asia
Ramifications of a gang rape
26 Jun 05 |  South Asia
Raped doctor: I'm still terrified
29 Jun 05 |  South Asia


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