ISLAMABAD: Police say they have questioned around 500 people but have still not been able to track down the man who raped a uniformed policewoman last weekend. The force, however, has not given up and dozens of teams are still working on the case.
The victim, a police commando working with anti-terrorist squad, was on her way back home on the night of September 29 when an unidentified man assaulted her near Fazaia bus stop on Expressway. She was walking towards her home, in uniform and carrying her official gun in her bag, when a bulky man grabbed and took her to the wooded area along the road and left her there in an unconscious state after sexually assaulting her.
The man did not take away any valuables from her.
Following the incident, the police have been trying to track down the suspect but have so far got nothing concrete to show. SSP-Operations Muhammad Amin Bukhari, who is supervising the efforts, says they are working on some leads which could help police in solving the case. “So far, we have interrogated around 500 people and many are under surveillance. 43 technical police teams are working on the case,” he told The Express Tribune on Saturday.
Police have obtained the geo-fencing data of the area and are analysing it and checking records of all those who were found in the area at the time. Some colleagues of the victim have also been interrogated while her estranged husband was also picked and let go after interrogation. The Safe City surveillance cameras were installed near the spot but the cameras, as has been the case of many other cases, were found dysfunctional. “There must have been something in the cameras if they were working,” remarked an officer.
It is important to note that hundreds of Safe City cameras, almost all the cameras beyond Faizabad, are dysfunctional for months and there have been several high-profile cases near cameras but the devices were found out of order.
These cases include display of IS flag along Islamabad Expressway on September 24 last year, and attack on a journalist by unknown motorcyclists in Sector G-7/1 on October 10, 2017. The cameras were also said to be inoperative when journalist Taha Siddiqui was intercepted and beaten up by gunmen near Koral Chowk on January 10 this year.
With no help from the cameras, the police are mostly relying on conventional methods to trace the suspect, which involves questioning all those with similar criminal history. Police say DNA samples would also be taken from some of the suspects. “This case is a challenge for us and we will solve it. Because running away is not the option,” the SSP said.
Meanwhile, the police have written to Islamabad chief commissioner for formation of a joint investigation team (JIT) to probe the case. The JIT would comprise police officers and one member each from the Intelligence Bureau and the Inter-Services Intelligence (ISI).
Police, however, say the JIT request was not because of the failure of the police to investigate the case, rather because of the terrorism charge included in the FIR. “JIT is a legal requirement in all cases of terrorism. Investigation will still be carried out by the police,” an officer said.
The police have also released a sketch of the culprit based on the memory of the victim. According to her, he was a tall, brown and bulky man sporting a black mustache and seemingly aged around 40 to 45 years.
Published in The Express Tribune, October 7th, 2018.