>>Tonight... Kainat Soomro says she was gang-raped at 13. .
These accused men insist they're innocent.
Inside one of the most well-known and complicated rape cases in Pakistan.
Was it rape or a love affair?
>>Because system supports aggressor, she will be the loser.
>>Frontline takes a harrowing journe through Pakistan's tribal customs and broken justice system to tell a story of love, lies and mysteries from a faraway place.
>>Why will a 13-year-old girl lie?
>>Is her very life in danger?
>>She's an outcast.
She will never get married.
She's destined to be killed by someone from her own family.
Because she's impure now.
So why will this girl lie?
>>Tonight on Frontline, "Outlawed in Pakistan."
>>NARRATOR: This is Pakistan.
We traveled here to meet a young woman who had a story to tell.
>>NARRATOR: After her escape, Kainat says she told her famil about what had happened during those three days.
>>NARRATOR: The first time we met Kainat, we found her famil surrounding her, defying their local traditions.
(horns honking) .
>>NARRATOR: From the start, there was another side to the story.
>>NARRATOR: This is his nephew.
He owns this shop.
Kainat says she was raped here by him and the other men.
>>NARRATOR: Besides Shaikh, Kainat accused three other men of the rape.
All of them denied the crime.
A month after Kainat alleged that she was raped, the family fled to Karachi, fearing for their lives.
By then, Kainat's story had started to gain major media attention.
A woman's organization, War Against Rape, had decided to help her.
>>SARAH ZAMAN: These tribal councils, which are called jirgas here, they've got a couple of elders of that communit who have been proven to be wise and impartial or whatever.
And they sit and they look into cases or complaints that any member of that community has against a person or a couple of people from within that community.
So these people essentially have the power to not just summon people to come and explain what has happened, but they can also pass judgments without the aggrieved or the complainant ever actually entering into the formal criminal justice system.
These guys have been proven time and again to really give bad decisions.
>>NARRATOR: The family said that back in their village they owned a house and two cars.
But here in Karachi, they now lived in a two-bedroom apartment.
>>NARRATOR: The War against Rape organization helped to find Kainat a prominent attorney to take on her case.
>>FAISAL SIDDIQI: There is not a single rape case I have done in Pakistan which doesn't have massive loopholes.
And the reason for that is very simple.
There is never any oral evidence.
The evidence which is there, the police does not have the abilit to collect that evidence.
They have no forensic ability.
They can't even secure a crime scene.
So whenever I take a case, the only thing which is important to me is, why would this girl lie?
Why will a 13-year-old girl lie that she has been gang raped by four people in a traditional Sindhi society?
I mean, she is an outcast.
She will never get married.
She is destined to be killed by someone from her own family.
Because she is impure now.
So why will this girl lie?
She must have a very strong motive.
Or she must be mad.
That is the legally valid question.
Why will this girl lie?
>>SIDDIQI: What one sees in society is the rise and rise of women's rights.
That is why there is so much violence against them.
That is why there is so much conflict against all these issues in Pakistan.
I mean, you have these rape victims, gang rape-- these small girls who come on TV and say we've been raped.
They're not ashamed.
This kind of public confession is difficult to imagine maybe a decade, two decades, three decades ago.
These girls are what I call grassroots feminists.
Women who have suffered.
And out of that suffering, they have gained the feminist consciousness.
>>NARRATOR: As the weeks wore on, Kainat's case continued to draw attention.
>>TV CORRESPONDENT: A kidnapping and a raping, gang raping... .
>>NARRATOR: So much so that the four men were arrested and thrown into jail without bail.
>>NARRATOR: Habib-Ullah Shaikh turned to a leading defense attorney, Waqar Shah, who agreed to represent all of the four accused men.
>>WAQAR SHAH: I have 20 years experience in criminal trials.
I have conducted number of cases which are very much famous in Pakistan.
A very famous case nowadays which I am contesting nowadays, is the case of Mr. Zardari, the president of Pakistan.
>>INTERVIEWER: And any other high-profile cases?
>>SHAH: Gang rape is an offense which is very heinous crime here in Pakistan and the conviction and the sentence is death.
So the courts are supposed to take all the cases, likewise, with very care and caution.
>>NARRATOR: These are the four accused men-- the shopkeeper, Shaban Shaikh, and three others, including a father and a son.
Habib-Ullah Shaikh was determined to win.
On this day, he brought dozens of supporters from his village to the court.
>>NARRATOR: When testimony began, all cameras were ordered out of the courtroom.
Kainat took the stand, and told her story in court.
She recounted that she was drugged and raped by four men.
She testified that they had weapons.
But her testimony had a serious problem.
There had been little supporting evidence collected to back her story.
>>SHAH: She was put in the witness box.
And she faced lengthy cross-examination.
A very, very typical cross-examination.
And I have put almost 200 or 300 questions from different angles.
>>SIDDIQI: She just couldn't go on, because the questions were very nasty.
Sadly, the judge didn't stop those questions, which he should have.
Things like, you know, which part of your clothing you removed.
Who raped you first, who raped you again?
In very nasty language.
>>SHAH: On the one hand there was expert person and in a witness box a village girl.
There was no comparison at all.
But system demands so.
>>SIDDIQI: In Pakistan, the entire burden is on the rape victim to make sure that the investigation is done properly, the medical examination is done properly, the trial takes place properly.
A medical examination of Kainat did take place.
And the report told that there was sexual intercourse.
But no sperm testing took place.
Why didn't the sperm testing take place?
In rape cases in Pakistan, it doesn't take place.
And the reason is because the facilities are not available all over Pakistan.
>>NARRATOR: There was also no DNA testing.
And the police investigation was flawed.
>>SIDDIQI: The investigation officer didn't bother to collect any evidence.
Because according to his own version, he didn't believe the... that she had been raped.
So he never really made an effort.
>>NARRATOR: As Kainat's trial wore on, with little evidence on her side, it became increasingly difficult to make her case.
>>NARRATOR: During the lengthy trial, the defense would also present their case, saying that there was no rape.
Instead, they argued, there was a marriage between Kainat and one of the accused rapists, Ahsan Thebo.
Their evidence-- a marriage certificate, photographs, and a story of a love affair.
>>NARRATOR: We asked Kainat about the photos.
She said she didn't remember having her picture taken with Ahsan.
>>As far as the photographs are concerned, you just can't look at them and say, "Oh, I see these are two happy people.
There is no rape."
You can't do that.
There is a procedure laid down in law of how those photographs are really proved.
That was not followed.
>>NARRATOR: He presented this argument at the trial, saying that the negatives of the photos were never presented.
But there was also the marriage certificate.
We asked him how Kainat's fingerprints and signature got onto the document.
>>SIDDIQI: She says that, "I signed some documents."
She vaguely recalls that she was in some courtroom.
>>SIDDIQI: Defense of marriage is a very common defense.
Because that is the usual practice, is that you rape a woman in the night or gang rape her, and then force her to get married so that it can be justified.
There are judgments by the Supreme Court where the same defense has been taken.
Like, "Look at these photographs, look at this marriage certificate."
I think the rapists in Pakistan are not very creative about their defenses.
They keep on coming up with the same defenses.
>>The thing about the marriage is that the key witnesses who could have validated the marriage did not come and give evidence.
>>NARRATOR: From the court documents we found the name of the cleric who says he married Kainat and Ahsan.
We traveled to a nearby town to find him.
>>NARRATOR: We had learned from her school and birth records that Kainat was 13 years old at the time.
>>NARRATOR: According to Pakistan's secular laws, a woman under 16 cannot consent to marriage.
But there is a loophole.
As an Islamic state, Pakistan also follows Islamic law, known as Sharia law, which states that a girl who has reached puberty can be married even if she is a minor.
And here in Pakistan, when there is a conflict between the two sets of laws, the courts tend to side with the Islamic law.
After years of hearings and delays, the judge finally summoned the accused to the court for the verdict.
>>SHAH: All the accused persons as well as myself, the prosecutor, the judge, all were present in the courtroom.
My clients were behind the bars since last three years.
So there was great apprehension.
>>NARRATOR: After a three-year-long trial, the judge would side with the men.
>>NARRATOR: After years in prison, on this day, Ahsan spoke publicly about Kainat.
>>NARRATOR: The judge believed the marriage story, ruling that Ahsan's marriage to Kainat was valid, even if she was only 13, following Islamic law rather than secular law.
He went on to say that another reason he had decided against Kainat was because she had accused a father and a son of a gang rape.
In his view, he said, that would never happen in Pakistan.
He concluded that Kainat's accusations were a product of her own fantasy.
>>NARRATOR: With the men freed, Kainat and her family told us they now fear for their safety.
>>NARRATOR: Then, just months after our interview with him, a tragic turn of events.
He was found dead.
Kainat and her family believed the four men she had accused of rape were responsible.
>>NARRATOR: Kainat's brother's death put her stor back into the national headlines.
>>NARRATOR: Famous politicians came to her side.
>>NARRATOR: From the start, the men denied playing any role in Kainat's brother's death.
>>NARRATOR: The police investigation into the brother's death would be closed after four months due to lack of evidence in the case.
>>NARRATOR: Since her brother's death, Kainat lives under police protection.
>>NARRATOR: The story we had come to hear still had no ending.
Like other cases in Pakistan, it would remain at its heart a mystery with no clear end in sight.
>>SIDDIQI: They want to go ahead with the case.
I will keep on representing her.
I cannot even imagine that people who are so vulnerable are willing to risk their lives, the lives of their family.
They are willing to be displaced, and even then want to fight.
In their struggle there is so much hope.
Ultimately I think it's very difficult to stop this tide of the assertion of women short of some kind of a counter-revolution in Pakistan.
I don't see these rape victims being put back in their homes and told to shut up.
I frankly don't see that happening.
>>Go to pbs.org/frontline for a behind-the-scenes look at the making of "Outlawed in Pakistan."
>>We wanted to make sure our audience has the whole picture of what it's like to fight a rape case in Pakistan.
>>Learn more about the rights of women in Pakistan.
Take a closer look at the role of Islamic law in the country's judicial system, and connect to theFrontline communit on Facebook and Twitter, and more at pbs.org/frontline.
>>For more on this and other Frontline programs, visit our website at pbs.org/frontline.
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