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Accused highway rape sent to 14-day detention

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LAHORE:

An anti-terrorism court (ATC) on Tuesday sent defendant Shafqat Ali alias Bagga, the second culprit involved in the highway rape gang case, to jail for 14 days in custody.

Abid Malhi, the main suspect in the case, is still at large.

ATC Judge Arshad Hussain Bhutta conducted the case proceedings where Gujjarpura police produced the accused with a strangled face in strict security.

A deputy attorney general requested that the court transfer the accused to jail in custody for the identification parade while submitting a request from the investigating officer for the purpose.

He stated that the accused was not named in the FIR but his DNA sample was compared to a sample taken from the victim.

He claimed that by law, the parade of identification of the accused was a mandatory requirement.

In this, the court sent the accused to jail for judicial detention for 14 days and directed his production with the expiration of the detention period, 29 September.

The court instructed the prison authorities to make special arrangements to ensure that the identity of the accused would not be disclosed to prisoners and private persons.

The court instructed the investigating officer to complete the parade as soon as possible.

Police had arrested the accused, Shafqat Ali, from a house in Depalpur on Sunday evening.

On Tuesday, a police team visited the victim at her home to record her statement, which is mandatory for further legal proceedings but turned out to be unsuccessful. The victim was reportedly not in good mental health.

The statement and its availability for the identification parade is necessary to pursue the case, otherwise, it may benefit the accused persons by weakening the case.

The victim, from the time she met the unfortunate and horrific incident on Wednesday (September 9th), has been ready to begin legal action. She reportedly even refused to register an FIR. Her relatives, police and several prominent people in the area persuaded her to register the case and undergo a forensic examination.

While the victim was locked inside her house after the serious incident, the police faced difficulties in contacting the victim.

The hunt for the main defendants

The hunt for the main accused, Abid Malhi, in the case continued on Tuesday. Police conducted raids in multiple locations based on information they received from various individuals, family members and associates, about his whereabouts. However, police have remained unsuccessful in apprehending Abid so far.

Shafqat reveals collaborators

The accused, Shafqat Ali, revealed to the police during interrogation details about their third accomplice, Iqbal alias Bala Mistri. However, Iqbal was not with them during the heinous crime.

Shafqat told police that Iqbal had lived near Karol Ghatti – a village near the site of the gang rape. “He and Abid Malhi had gathered there to commit a violation but Bala had left earlier and was not present when the gang gang rape took place,” police quoted Shafqat as saying.

He had told police that when the woman refused to turn the car windows after seeing the gun, Abid broke the window using a stone he took from the side of the road.

He showed the whole rape scene in front of the police, saying that after Abid committed the sexual assault, he had threatened her with a gun to do the same.

They were present at the crime scene when the Dolphin Police opened fire. After hearing the shooting, they fled the scene and hid in the jungle for two hours. Later, they hid in a place of Abid in Qila Sattar Shah, Sheikhupura.

Shafqat was arrested during an attack in Okara. He had also said that they had a gang of four people – Abid Malhi, Ali Sher, Iqbal alias Bala Mistri and Shafqat alias Bagga – who were committing crimes in Sheikhupura and other cities.

Last week, two ‘robbers’ allegedly raped a woman with a gun in the Gujjarpura area while she was waiting for help on the highway after her car developed a malfunction.

(With data from APP)



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