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Last Updated: Wednesday, 29 June, 2005, 14:42 GMT 15:42 UK
Raped doctor: I'm still terrified
Dr Shazia Khalid
Dr Khalid was employed at a hospital run by Pakistan Petroleum
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.

Tribal tension

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

My whole career was destroyed, as was my husband's. That was why we left our country
Shazia Khalid

"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.

Pakistan's government has denied that Dr Khalid suffered any harassment from any quarter.

In an earlier interview with the BBC, Information Minister Sheikh Rashid Ahmed said: "She has been sent out of the country by some NGOs [non-governmental organisations] and the government has nothing to do with it."

Rape appeal

Dr Khalid has been invited to address a function organised by the Asian-American Network Against Abuse of Women (AANA) in the US on 2 July.

The function is a substitute for the organisation's earlier plans of inviting Mukhtar Mai, the victim of a notorious gang rape whose case is now in the Supreme Court in Islamabad.

Ms Mai was stopped from travelling to the US by President Pervez Musharraf who said he did not want NGOs using Ms Mai to malign Pakistan.

According to AANA, Dr Khalid will address the 2 July function over telephone. Ms Mai will address the function in the same way.


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