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On January 31, 2016, father-of-three Faiz Rehman found the body of his six-year-old daughter in the underground water tank of the wedding hall he had visited with his wife a week ago in Karachi, Pakistan. She had been raped and died due to drowning. Four years after the incident that made headlines at the time, Rehman continues to plead for justice for his little Pakeeza.

“My world crashed. Seeing the body of my daughter left me numb. It was the most difficult time of my life. Later, my pain became so unbearable that I even thought of ending my life,” Rehman was quoted as saying.

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“But when the police said that the investigations revealed that my daughter had been raped before she was dumped into the dark hollow tank, I told my wife that we have to live to seek justice for our late daughter,” he added.

The police arrested 19 people on suspicion of the rape and murder, and charged them after a year.

While the story initially got attention in the media and community, the couple were soon left alone to fight the case in a district court, against the nominated wedding hall owners and their staff.

No means to get a lawyer

When lawyers refused to take the case because of Faiz’s financial constraints, the bereaved father appeared before the court without a legal counsel. According to local media reports, when approached for settlement, he refused.

“The promise on my daughter’s grave was strong enough so that no amount on the table could buy me,” the Orangi Town resident was quoted as saying.

Contradictory reports

Pakistani media outlets reported that Rehman was given the DNA report of deceased after a delay of five months. Interestingly, according to the report, no semen was found inside the deceased’s body, which was a contradiction to the initial chemical test.

With the two reports contradicting each other, police formed a medical legal board to ascertain the real facts. The board maintained that the police had contaminated the DNA, hence it could not be taken as evidence in the case, further adding that the deceased had been subjected to a head injury, water inundation and sexual assault.

Nearly four years later, on November 15, 2019, the court rejected the medical board’s recommendation by calling it an “opinion”, a Pakistani news outlet reported.

While the court criticised the police investigation, based on the contentious DNA results, said that the “prosecution miserably failed to make out its case even by producing any circumstantial or documentary evidence or any other proof which assigned any concrete role of the accused persons to give complete picture of the alleged crime.” Hence, on the benefit of doubt, the court released all the suspects, declaring them innocent.

The wedding hall in Orangi Town, which had remained shut for being a crime scene opened again with a grand celebration, a week after the decision.

According to Pakistani media reports, Rehman said that he spent all his savings on the case and remains adamant on finding justice for his daughter.

“… Is it because I am poor and have no privileges to enjoy?” he was quoted as saying.