A suspect wanted by authorities in the gang rape case on the highway has been arrested and he has admitted the crime, Punjab chief minister Usman Buzdar announced on Monday.
In a tweet, he identified the suspect as Shafqat Ali and said his DNA had matched the samples collected from the crime scene.
“Our entire team is also making continuous efforts to arrest the suspect Abid Ali, which is expected soon,” he said, referring to the main suspect in the case.
“In light of the scientific analysis and investigation of the evidence found at the crime scene, one of [suspects] …, Shafqat Ali, son of Allah Ditta, resident of Haroonabad, Bahawalnagar district, has been arrested, “Punjab Inspector General of Police Inam Ghani said in a statement.
He confirmed that Shafqat’s DNA had matched the samples taken from the crime scene.
He said just as the Punjab Police worked “day and night” to arrest Shafqat, “the fugitive [suspect] “Abid Malhi will also be arrested soon and brought to justice,” the statement said.
On Wednesday evening, two robbers on the Lahore-Sialkot highway had raped a mother of two in an area falling under the jurisdiction of Gujjarpura police.
Police sources said Shafqat was arrested yesterday from the Depalpur area under the sign of Waqarul Hassan, one of the first two suspects mentioned by police as involved in the rape case that sparked outrage across the country.
Hassan told investigators that Ali had committed crimes with a man named Shafqat for some time. He said like Ali, Shafqat is also from Bahawalnagar and the two are friends, according to police sources.
The prime minister’s tweet came after a second suspect turned himself in to police and denied his involvement in the crime, police said.
The suspect was identified as Abbas, Hassan’s brother-in-law, confirmed Model Model Crime Crime Agency (CIA) Deputy Police Chief Hasnain Haider. According to the police officer, Abbas denied his involvement in the rape.
Hassan himself had adjudicated his arrest Sunday approaching DSP Haider. He pleaded not guilty and demanded that his DNA test be performed to substantiate his claim.
After his handover, Hassan had also claimed that Abbas (his brother-in-law), who was using his SIM mobile phone, had some connections with the main suspect Abid Ali. He had said that his brother-in-law would surrender himself.
Punjab Police Inspector General Inam Ghani while speaking at a high profile press conference on Saturday had revealed the identities of two suspected rapists like Abid Ali from the Fort Abbas area of Bahawalnagar and Waqarul Hassan and Qila Sattar Shah from the Sheikhupura district. Their photos were made public along with the announcement of Rs 2.5 million before the reward for the information that led to their capture.
Abid Ali is still at large and police teams are conducting raids to apprehend him.
The father of six, Hassan told police he was an engine mechanic and had to visit Lahore frequently to buy spare parts. Police sources said the suspect claimed he had nothing to do with Ali’s gang rape and other criminal activities.
Police sources said dawn Hassan was taken into custody for further investigation and DNA sampling.
The first suspects were identified
IGP Ghani had told reporters that the two suspects, Ali and Hassan, were identified after police conducted geo-fencing for the entire area and collected fingerprints and DNA samples. The police chief said the DNA database had led to Ali’s identification, as he had previously been involved in another rape case, while the area’s geo-screening revealed that Hassan had accompanied him.
He said police had collected Ali’s criminal records and learned that four SIM mobile phones had been registered in his name that he had used in the past, but all of those SIMs were currently inactive. He said another phone number was tracked leading police to conclude that Hassan was Alis’s accomplice.
IGP Ghani further said police were “95-96 per cent” sure Hassan was involved in the crime along with Ali, and the presence of the first at the crime scene was indicated by cell phone records.
However, Hassan Shabbir’s older brother told him Geo TV that his brother was not involved in any crime. He said a large police contingent had raided their home Saturday afternoon and fled with their older brother, Tanvir Hussain, and his son. He claimed that Hasan was not at home when police raided him after he had gone to a nearby area.
Hassan adjudicated the arrest after their family members suffered torture by police, Shabbir claimed.
While answering a question about Ali, Shabbir said they did not know him. He said Hassan’s brother-in-law Abbas was using a SIM registered in his name but they were not aware if he had any contact with Ali or not.
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