Posted July 15, 2010 by The Underground Staff in Commentary and News

Nurses in Pakistan demand justice for fellow Christian nurse who was raped, nearly murdered

Hundreds of nurses in Pakistan took to the streets recently to demand justice for a Christian nursing student who was allegedly raped and thrown from the fourth floor of a Pakistan hospital by the Muslim doctor who raped her.

Some 200 nurses, both male and female from the Jinnah Postgraduate Medical Centre said they would not end their strike until the victim, 23-year-old Magdalene Ashraf, gets the justice that is due.

They suspended work for five hours in condemnation of the act, The Nation said.

Foremost among the strikers was the Pakistan Nursing Association who decried the act as “brutal” and demanded that action is taken against the accused, Dr. Abdul Jabbar Memon who allegedly tried to rape Ashraf, The Nation said.

Ashraf, a third year nursing student of the JPMC, was found unconscious with an injury to her head near the scene of the alleged rape.

Jabbar was found near her, sustaining a fractured hip bone. Initial reports confirmed that Ashraf was raped, Pakistan Criminal Records said.

Ashraf was found by the hospital’s security after witnesses alerted them saying they saw a girl wearing a nurse’s uniform being thrown from the hospital’s fourth floor by a person wearing a white coat, The Pakistan Christian Post said.

Jabbar, who is in police custody, had been suspended from tenure seven times and was known to drink during work hours. It is believed that he was drunk when he allegedly raped her, The Nation said.

Ashraf’s father, a poor Christian man named Ashraf Masih rushed to the hospital when he learned of the incident and found his daughter unconscious. He called on Christian leaders to help him, the Pakistan Christian Post said.

JPMC is a teaching hospital. Formerly the nurses were all Christian, but in 1980 the public college began to take in more Muslim nurses.  All the doctors in the hospital are Muslim, the Pakistan Christian Post said.

Christian leaders Michael Javeed and Saleem Khokihar became involved amid protests that a case had not been lodged against Jabbar.

Hundreds of rape cases by Muslim doctors of Christian nurses are not reported, especially when the rapist comes from an influential family, the Pakistan Christian Post said. Most often victims are silent in fear of their own and their families’ safety.

Due to agitation from concerned citizens, a case was lodged against Jabbar under section 324 PPC in Saddar Police Station Karachi. However the striking nurses are concerned that the hospital and the police are colluding to delay the case and are sheltering Jabbar, The Nation said.