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Tuesday January 18, 2022

Usman Mirza case: State will pursue prosecution, says Maleeka Bokhari

"I don’t know any of the accused in this case, nor do I want to pursue the case further," the victim had told the court

By Web Desk
January 12, 2022
Usman Mirza, the prime accused in the Islamabad harassment case, can be seen in this file photo behind bars. - Photo Islamabad Police
Usman Mirza, the prime accused in the Islamabad harassment case, can be seen in this file photo behind bars. - Photo Islamabad Police

ISLAMABAD: The government has decided to pursue prosecution in the case of the harassment of a couple allegedly by prime accused, Usman Mirza, and others, after the victim  declared she no longer wishes to pursue the case.

Parliamentary Secretary Law and Justice Barrister Maleeka Bokhari on Wednesday said that the state will pursue prosecution in the case irrespective of recent developments relating to the victim's testimony.

“Irrefutable video and forensic evidence on record — anyone harassing and stripping a woman must face the full force of the law, the PTI leader said, after attending a meeting where Federal Law Minister Farogh Nasim was also present.

Read more: U-turn in Islamabad couple harassment case

The female victim on Tuesday withdrew her statement and submitted an affidavit to state for the record that she will no longer be pursuing the case.

Previously, in a statement to the magistrate, she had said Mirza and the other accused had "threatened to gang-rape her if she did not have sex with her friend while they filmed it".

The victim had said she was "forced to perform a nude dance in front of Usman and his accomplices", and that she was beaten up when she refused.

Yesterday, the Islamabad District and Sessions Court heard the case in relation to the alleged harassment, during which Mirza, along with seven others, were presented before the court.

The female victim submitted a stamp paper to the court and said that “the police have opened this case; neither have I identified any accused nor have I signed any papers.”

"I have not signed the affidavit under anyone’s pressure," she added.

She claimed that the police took her signature and thumb impressions on blank papers multiple times.

"I don’t know any of the accused in this case, nor do I want to pursue the case further," she said.

Pointing to one of the accused in the case, she said: “I have only seen Rehan and others at police stations. I don’t even know them.”

"No one tried to assault me sexually; neither do I know Rehan, nor did he record a video of me," she further said, in a shocking turn of events.

She also denied giving ransom money to anyone.

PM seeks report

Meanwhile, Special Assistant to the Prime Minister on Political Communication Shahbaz Gill said that Prime Minister Imran Khan has sought progress reports in the Islamabad harassment and motorway gang rape cases.

The premier has directed the law ministry to follow up on a daily basis to bring these cases to a just conclusion, Gill stated.

Protecting the rights of citizens is the primary duty of the government, he quoted the prime minister as saying.

Gill said that the state will pursue these cases and punish the culprits severely.

An anti-terrorism court has sentenced the convicts in the motorway rape case and an appeal against the decision will be heard on February 14.

“The elements involved in such heinous crimes are a challenge to (establishing) a moderate society and justice system,” the premier's aide said.

What had happened?

It is worth mentioning here that last  July, a video surfaced on social media in which the main accused in the case, Usman Mirza, could be seen violently thrashing and harassing a young couple in a room full of other men.

Within a few hours of the video going viral, the Islamabad police took Mirza into custody and registered a first information report (FIR) in the case.

Later on, seven people, including  Mirza, were indicted in the Islamabad couple harassment case.

Additional Sessions Judge Ata Rabbani had indicted all the accused, including Hafiz Ataur Rehman, Farhan Shaheen, Adaras Qayyum Butt, Rehan Hassan Mughal, Umar Bilal and Mohib Bangash.

Furthermore, Islamabad High Court had rejected the bail appeals of the three accused and directed the authorities to complete Usman Mirza's trial case in two months.