Motorway rape accused sent on 14-day judicial remand

Shafqat Ali tells police his ‘gang’ has four members


Our Correspondent September 15, 2020
The accused, Shafqat Ali, revealed before the police during interrogation details about their third accomplice, Iqbal alias Bala Mistri. PHOTO: EXPRESS/FILE

LAHORE:

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

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

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

A deputy prosecutor general requested the court to shift the accused to jail on judicial remand for identification parade while submitting an application by the investigation officer for the purpose.

He stated that the accused was not nominated in the FIR but his DNA sample had matched a sample obtained from the victim.

He contended that as per law, identification parade of the accused was a mandatory requirement.

At this, the court sent the accused to jail on judicial remand for 14 days and directed producing him on expiry of the remand term, September 29.

The court directed jail authorities to make special arrangements to ensure that the identity of the accused was not be disclosed to inmates and private persons.

The court directed the investigation officer to conclude the parade as soon as possible.

The police had on Sunday night arrested the accused, Shafqat Ali, from a house in Depalpur.

On Tuesday, a police team visited the victim at her house to record her statement, which is mandatory for further legal proceedings, but returned unsuccessful. Reportedly, the victim was not in sound mental health.

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

The victim, since the time she met with the unfortunate and horrific incident on Wednesday (Sept 9), has been reluctant to initiate legal action. Reportedly, she had even refused to register an FIR. Her relatives, police and a few notables of the area convinced her to register the case and undergo a medico-legal examination.

As the victim had enclosed herself inside her house after the heinous incident, the police have been facing difficulties in contacting the victim.

Manhunt for main accused

The manhunt for the prime accused, Abid Malhi, in the case continued on Tuesday. The police conducted raids at multiple locations based on the information they extracted from various persons, his family members and accomplices, about his whereabouts. However, the police remained unsuccessful in apprehending Abid so far.

Shafqat reveals accomplices

The accused, Shafqat Ali, revealed before 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 the police that Iqbal had been residing near Karol Ghatti – a village near the place where the gang rape took place. “He and Abid Malhi had gathered there to commit an offence but Bala had left earlier and was not present when the motorway gang rape was committed,” the police quoted Shafqat as saying.

He had told the police that when the woman had refused to roll down the car windows after seeing the weapon, Abid broke the glass using a stone he picked up from the roadside.

He narrated the whole rape scene before the police, saying that after Abid committed the sexual assault, he had threatened him at gunpoint to do the same.

They were present at the crime scene when the Dolphin Police opened fire. After hearing the gunshots, they had left the place and hid themselves in the jungle for two hours. Later, they went into hiding at a place of Abid’s in Qila Sattar Shah, Sheikhupura.

Shafqat was arrested during a raid in Okara. He had also told that they had a gang of four -- Abid Malhi, Ali Sher, Iqbal alias Bala Mistri and Shafqat alias Bagga -- who used to commit crimes in Sheikhupura and other cities.

Last week, two 'robbers' allegedly raped a woman at gunpoint in Gujjarpura area while she was waiting for help on the motorway after her car developed a fault.

(With input from APP)

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