Relatives Call For Fair Probe Into Abuse Of Pak Student

RIYADH, 23 October 2007 — Parents and relatives of Safia Asif, the 19-year-old student at the Pakistan International School, Riyadh, (PISR), who is recovering at a local hospital after allegedly being assaulted by teachers, have called on Saudi and Pakistani officials to ensure they are given justice.

Safia’s supporters have called on the Riyadh governorate, local human rights groups and the Ministry of Education to look into the teenager’s case. “The governorate has already asked the police to ensure a fair investigation in this case,” said Imran Ali, Safia’s brother-in-law.

“We have also approached the Saudi Ministry of Education and the Pakistan Embassy. We will also be writing to a private Pakistani TV channel, for which Maimoona Ahmed, the PISR teacher, works as a part-time stringer,” said Ali.

“Safia’s statement was again recorded by police yesterday following instructions from the Riyadh governorate,” said Ali, adding that Safia is still in hospital after having suffered a fractured collarbone and multiple injuries.

Speaking to Arab News today, Safia said that the two teachers — Maimoona Ahmed and Zahida Parveen — hit her and forced her fall. “The school officials and the accused teachers have ganged up against me and my family instead of sympathizing with us,” she said.

Speaking about the help extended by the school to the Asif family, Zahoor-ul-Hassan, PISR principal, said, “The hospital … has waived the SR23,000 incurred during her prolonged stay at the Central Somaisi Hospital’s intensive care unit. The remaining SR1,400 was paid by the school yesterday… Safia has recovered fully, but she’s still in hospital because of parental insistence.”

However, Safia’s brother-in-law disagreed, saying it would take at least six months for the teenager to fully recover.

Ahmed, on her part, has pleaded innocent and denied the allegations. “I am totally innocent. I did not flee and I came back from Pakistan on my own after recording a religious program, which I have been hosting on a Pakistani channel,” she said, adding that police did not detain her on her return.

Ahmed has also shown evidence to police of her exit and re-entry visa and pre-booked ticket for her trip to Pakistan. “She has already testified before the police and the case is still under investigation,” said Hassan. “The whole case is concocted. In fact, a handful of people are playing community politics, while trying to settle personal scores against Maimoona and the school,” said Hassan, who visited Safia in hospital yesterday. He added that Zahida Parveen’s name is also being dragged into the controversy because she is a member of the PISR disciplinary committee headed by Ahmed.

Meanwhile, allegations and counter allegations continued to be hurled in the case. In a statement, allegedly released by Ahmed, the PISR teacher said, “A man called Dawood Amjad has been actively involved in this case.” Dawood is the son of Tasneem Amjad, a former PISR teacher, whose employment at the school was terminated a few months ago and who has taken her dismissal to a local Labor Court.

“Dawood has been sending threatening messages, and in one instance Dawood came to Maimoona’s home, banged her doors and hurled all kinds of abuses,” the statement continued.

However, the Amjads yesterday denied the allegations. “There is complete lawlessness in the school… Principal Hassan is working in collusion with a group of tainted teachers,” said Tasneem.

Add Comment