Two of the three suspects who were arrested for the rape and murder of a six-year-old girl have confessed to killing the minor, while a court has remanded the men to police custody until April 25.
Rabia Baqa Muhammad had gone missing from her house in Orangi Town’s Baloch Goth on Sunday afternoon. Her body bearing torture marks was recovered from the Khairabad forest in Manghopir the next day.
On the complaint of her grandfather Abdul Qadir, the Manghopir police registered FIR No 139/18 against his neighbours Raheem Kareem Bakhsh, Faqeer Muhammad and Fazal Ghulam Rasool. Bakhsh and Rasool were later arrested.
Police said the arrested suspects confessed to killing the girl over personal enmity with the family, adding that the men had picked up the minor from outside her house and later dumped her body in the forest after strangling her to death.
The two suspects were produced before the court of the West judicial magistrate. The investigating officer informed the court that police were trying to arrest the third suspect. The IO requested that the court grant physical remand of the two detained men so they could be interrogated. The judicial magistrate accepted the request and granted remand until April 25.
Meanwhile, the autopsy report of the Abbasi Shaheed Hospital’s medico-legal officer has confirmed that the girl was strangled to death. Officials said the DNA samples of the suspects have also been sent for examination.
Reports of the girl’s rape and murder had sparked a violent demonstration in Manghopir on Tuesday. The protesters had placed the minor’s body on Manghopir Road and blocked both of its tracks.
After failing to disperse the protesters, police had baton-charged and tear-gassed them, but the law enforcers were attacked with stones, leaving 10 cops, including a DSP and two SHOs of the Orangi Town Division, wounded.
SP Abid Baloch said the police had backed away after they were pelted with stones, but someone opened fire on them, resulting in injuries to three of the demonstrators.
Ilyas Ali Haider succumbed to his wounds, while the other injured were identified as Adnan Zaman and 13-year-old Fazal. Officials investigating the incident said the three men were fired at from the direction where no policeman was present.
The girl’s family claimed that some Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) leaders had forced them to participate in the protest. They also claimed that the PTI leaders were now offering them money to not disclose these facts to police.
Officials accused PTI leaders and workers of vandalising public property, ambulances and police and media vans. “On the basis of these facts, a case has been registered against the PTI District West leadership at the Peerabad police station, with sections of the Anti-Terrorism Act included in the FIR,” said an official.
“Police have nominated 13 PTI leaders, while 150 others are unidentified. Six of the 13 nominated PTI District West leaders have been arrested,” added the official. Meanwhile, a PTI delegation led by Imran Ismail asked the Orangi Town Division SP’s office to register a case against the police for Haider’s killing. Officials said the PTI leaders claimed that Haider was their worker, but when they were told that he was affiliated with the Jamiat Ulema-e-Islam-Fazl, they left quietly.
Pakistan Peoples Party MPA Mir Nadir Ali Khan Magsi said that Rabia belonged to his tribe and that police should arrest the real culprits before it is too late.
“I have stopped my people [from taking the law into their own hands], so police should arrest the real culprits at the earliest,” Magsi said while speaking in the Sindh Assembly on a point of order.
“According to our investigation, the people who have been arrested are not the real culprits. If we were to get hold of the culprits, it could become a law and order problem.” On a separate occasion, Home Minister Suhail Siyal said the minor girl’s issue should not be politicised as police were doing their best to catch the culprits.