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By M Zulqernain
Lahore, Jul 22, 2014
A Pakistani court today rebuked the police for harassing the family of a young girl cricketer who allegedly committed suicide after the head of a government cricket club demanded sexual favours from her to get her selected in the national team.
The mother of 17-year-old cricketer Haleema had filed a petition in the Lahore High Court’s Multan bench saying the police and an NGO were harassing her and her family members. ”The police are pressuring her and her family members to give statement as to why her daughter committed suicide while the NGO insisting her in different ways to pursue a case against the Pakistan Cricket Board for showing a callous attitude towards Haleema’s complaint,” she said.
Her lawyer Shafique said the LHC had issued an order directing the police and NGO not to harass Haleema’s family. Haleema, who allegedly committed suicide by drinking acid at her house in Multan city, some 350 kilometers from Lahore last week, had alleged that Multan Cricket Club chairman Maulvi Sultan Alam had sought ‘sexual favours’ from her in order to select her in the under-19 national team.
Three other girl cricketers had also accused Alam of sexual harassment last year. The girls also filed the complaint to the Pakistan Cricket Board but to no avail. A local TV news channel aired their allegations. Subsequently, Alam served a Rs 200 million defamation notice on the girl cricketers – Haleema, Kiran, Hina and Sumia and the chief executive of the news channel and its reporter.
Alam who is also a judge of an anti-terrorism court, denied sexual harassment allegations saying an inquiry was conducted by the PCB in which he was declared “innocent” and had banned the cricketers for six months.
Javed, a cousin of Haleema said the talented cricketer attended the court proceedings and but she got very tense afterwards. ”It appears Haleema committed suicide due to fear of court proceedings against her,” he said.
Punjab Law Minister Rana Mashhood said that the suicide of the teenage cricketer was a serious matter and the government would conduct an inquiry into it. ”We will constitute a committee to probe the matter and fix the responsibility,” Mashhood said.
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