Original Articles

A nightmare while I was awake – by Qurat ul ain Haider Zaidi

response to JI rapeMama and Baba can we go back to home. You know I am scared I am in terrible pain-why I cannot speak anything. This is unfathomable for me. I am uncharacteristically nervous! I want to become free I want to be safe.

After finding myself in the hospital bed, for several times I tried to change my direction, want to hold my teddy bear back and want to stand up but I found it a terrible and painstaking task.Whenever sometime passes while I am awake, an auntie in a white dress injects something in my drip and then things gradually become blurry and probably I fall asleep. However,since lastweek, I want to tell mama about pain, about my nightmares but Ido not know why Icannot talk. My uncles and aunts used to call me a chatterbox. This time I planned to askthe nurse tonot to inject any liquid in my drip because whenever I sleep I see a group of haunted large men who are chasing me, ripping my teddy bear which grandma gave me on my fifth birthday this year. No doubt, teddy has lost its original color but I still prefer to place it with me before going to sleep.

Whenever I cry and tears drip down I can feel that the itch on my cheeks is becoming intense day by day. The terrible thing is that I want to move but I cannot. My arms and legs have become heavy. I cannoteven lift them. I silently watch when doctor comes; when my mama sobs in front of me, when baba just nods in front of the doctor who probably talks about me. I have felt that baba has notslept for a week because his eyes seem watery and red. He looks too tired. Everyone was so happy a week ago.

I remember the evening last week when mama dressed me with a skirt and blouse.  She carefully combed my hair and made a single pony on top of my head. I have been always very careless about losing my hair accessories during playing with my friends. Everytime she has to open a new packet of it for me with old instructions about taking care of my things. However, in all this baba has proved thathe is quite generous. He does not bother to count how many I have lost since and every time places a packet of colorful pins in mama’s hand. I remember the same goes for my erasers and pencils. Nevertheless, they have had a stock of them also. Nowlyinghere, I realized that I am no longer wearing that blue skirt. My hair is undone.  I am stunned altogether.

I am horrified to see the marks of their bites on my arms. Whenever my sleeves touch me, the pain becomes intense. They are now gradually turning purple and ugly. Some of the wounds had to be wrapped in bandages because I remember my arms were also bleeding when their nails were tearing the flesh.

I know something very bad has happened to me. Something that is very painful and very new.  That evening I remember when I was playing in front of my house and the Azaan of Maghribhad started. One by one,my friends started leaving the game because their parents have asked to come back so have my parents. During going back to my house, I remember a man came to talk to me. He offered some sweets as well. I guess I have seen him in our street couple of times.

Then I alsoremember he was talking to me. Then he started walking while picking me upand during listening, I placed my arm on his shoulders. Probably he was asking questions about me.Soon I realized during the conversation that I was no more in my street. It was already dark. I told him that I want to go back because mama has always advised to come before Azaan. However, hedid not change his direction and insisted me to listen to him carefully.

Things were soon changed. Now he was talking to some men. I felt my heart was beating more fast because it was quite dark by then.  I was afraid that I was not with my mama and baba. They were complete strangers to me. Some of them started biting at my arms. It was painful. My clothes were torn.  Everything that was happening was alien to me. Then I was shrieking loud and loud because I was now drenched into my own blood.

I have a dim imagination when guard of hospital carried me when he saw me lying unconscious in front of hospital. My body placed in some moving bed and I arrived into a room. Then couple of doctors seemed disturbed after seeing me and then more darkness and me.

I knowI was hurt and injured. In all my childhood whenever during playing I got a bruise mama always scolded me to be careful. Now she always cries. Baba always used to kiss me on my forehead, ask couple of questions which my qari sahib had taught.  Now he does not say anything. I want to see my friends also.  Want to tell them I would not be able to join them in coming days because I cannot speak let alone move.

Just a while ago, my uncle was telling my mom that police has obtained a closed circuit camera footage of me. I guess it must be something useful for family and me.  Last time when someone came into my room and said police has arrived to ask some questions to me. The very thought of strangers jolted me but before I could protest the doctor told him that I was not in a condition to do that. He is stranger but amazingly, whenever he comes he inquires about my health, thanks god he is not cruel.

I am waiting when I will be able to talk and tell them about my agony and fears.  I remember everything and afraid that I will not forget it for the rest of my life.


Section 376 of Pakistan Penal Code, 1860 provides that whoever commits rape shall be punished with death or imprisonment for either description for a term, which shall not be less than ten years or more than twenty-five years and shall be liable to fine.

When a rape is committed by two or more persons furtherance of common intention of all, each of such person shall be punished with death or imprisonment for life.

By Qurat-ul-ain Haider Zadi (student of law)

Founder & CEO at Amal (facebook: facebook.com/amalpakistan ) (www.amalpakistan)


She can be reached at @annyzaidi

And on facebook: facebook.com/anny.haiderzaidi