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September 12, 2020

Motorway rape case: Geo-fencing of villages near crime spot completed

Top Story

September 12, 2020

LAHORE/ISLAMABAD: Lahore Police have completed the geo-fencing of three places and searched villages lying within a five-kilometre radius of the crime scene.

Lahore Police have yet to ascertain as to who reached the incident site initially as there are many stories doing rounds about it. The Dolphin Force cops claimed that they were the first to approach the woman.

Police have also recovered some of the valuables of the victim. The victim woman’s gold ring were found in the fields where she was reportedly taken by two unidentified men along with her children at gunpoint and was raped. The attackers had taken Rs100,000 cash and other valuables of the victim with them while fleeing.

The commander of Punjab Police finally woke up for the security of Lahore-Sialkot Motorway on Friday. Despite passage of three days, the police failed to arrest the robbers, who had raped and looted the woman on the Motorway. A special investigation team (SIT) visited the crime scene on Friday and restructured the heinous act. However, the investigators could not find any tangible clue to the culprits.

The criminal profiling of 15 suspects had been completed. Traditional and modern techniques of investigation were being used to find out the culprits. A member of the investigation team told The News that DNA [deoxyribo-nucleic acid] samples of suspects are being sent to the Forensic Science Agency. The reports will take some time for matching with the victim.

Meanwhile, Inspector General of Police (IGP) Punjab Inam Ghani said that teams of Punjab Highway Patrol (PHP) and Special Protection Unit (SPU) had been deployed for security duties on the Lahore-Sialkot Motorway. He said the PHP and SPU teams would patrol 24 hours a day in three shifts, which would ensure safety of lives and property of citizens and help curb criminal acts. The IGP termed the news fake regarding the arrest of the main culprit. A private news channel had flashed the news late on Friday night that the main suspect had been arrested. The news also went viral on the social media. However, the IGP Punjab and Shahbaz Gill said there was no such development. They said once the suspect would be arrested, he would be brought before the public.

The IGP directed Additional IGP PHP Captain (retd) Zafar Iqbal Awan to conduct field visits to inspect and monitor the security arrangements of the Lahore-Sialkot Motorway to improve security arrangements under a comprehensive strategy. He expressed these views while instructing officers and talking to the media during his visit to crime scene and launching patrolling of the PHP and SPU teams for security on the Lahore-Sialkot Motorway on Friday.

Additional IGP PHP Captain (retd) Zafar Iqbal Awan, Additional IG Internal Accountability Branch (IAB) Azhar Hameed Khokhar, DIG Special Protection Unit Bilal Siddique Kamiana and other officers were present in the meeting.

A video link conference was also held at Central Police Office to improve security arrangements on Lahore-Sialkot Motorway. Federal Secretary Communications Zafar Hassan, IG Motorway Dr Syed Kaleem Imam, IG Punjab Inam Ghani and other senior police and highway police officers participated.

Secretary Communications Zafar Hassan told the meeting all possible resources would be provided for safety and convenience of citizens on the newly constructed motorway. The IGP Punjab said that on deputation from Punjab Police for security of Lahore-Sialkot Motorway, 100 personnel would be deployed to the Motorway Police while joint teams of SPU and PHP would be on patrol and security duties in three shifts and these measures were aimed at protecting the passengers travelling by the motorway.

During the conference, IG Motorway Dr Kaleem Imam said the Lahore Police personnel on deputation would be trained by Motorway Police teams. He said that Motorway Police vehicles would also assist in performing their duties on Lahore-Sialkot Motorway and initially Motorway Police vehicles would be on duty to prevent traffic irregularities.

Furthermore, a delegation of women parliamentarians and civil society members called on IGP Punjab Inam Ghani at the Central Police Office. The delegation consisted of Shaista Pervez Malik, Hina Pervez Butt, Ayesha Raza Farooq, Kiran Daar, Kanwal Liaquat, Sania Ashiq and former MNA Saira Afzal Tarar. They apprised the IG Punjab of their concerns over the Gujjarpura incident and said that measures should be taken for protection of women and children in society. The IGP told the delegation about the progress made in the incident and said that police teams had been mobilised day and night to arrest the sexual predators involved in the rape case. “I am personally monitoring the progress from time to time.”

The authorities have short-listed over 70 people with criminal record and their location at the time of the incident was also being monitored. Detectives have also been hired for the inspection of footprints collected from the crime scene.

In a statement, IGP Inam Ghani told that traditional and advance techniques are being used to investigate the case. Suspicious points have been mark around five kilometres from the incident site, he said.

Meanwhile, Punjab Chief Minister Usman Buzdar and Law and Parliamentary Affairs Minister Raja Basharat declared the Motorway rape case a test case for the Police Department and ordered for arrest of the culprits at the earliest.

The CM Friday contacted the law minister, who is heading the investigation committee probing the Motorway rape case, and got the latest information about the ongoing investigation.

The CM ordered for taking forward the investigation in a scientific manner, adding that investigation should be completed in the stipulated time period and all aspects should be examined.

Meanwhile, the provincial government constituted a five-member committee to investigate the case. A notification was issued regarding the constitution of the committee. It is headed by Punjab Law Minister Raja Basharat, while additional chief secretary Home Department, additional IG Special Branch, DIG Investigation Punjab and the DG Forensic Science Agency would be other members.

The committee would complete the investigation within three days and submit recommendations to Chief Minister Usman Buzdar.

Meanwhile, the Senate Standing Committee on Information and Broadcasting vehemently condemned the rape of a woman on the motorway, called for string punishments for such heinous crimes and directed the media to be mindful of her and her family privacy.

The committee met here under the chairmanship of Senator Faisal Javed at the Parliament House. The forum strongly condemned the rape incident. Senator Faisal Javed said that such incidents could not be curbed unless the punishments were tightened.

“It is unfortunate that the Zainab Alert Bill, which has been passed for several months, could not be implemented,” he noted. The committee directed the TV channels and newspapers to take care of privacy of the rape victim and her family. The chairman of the committee said that the name of the woman or her family should not be published in the media under any circumstances.

Senator Faisal insisted that the public and private media should run a full awareness campaign on such incidents and especially on incidents of child abuse and punish the people. He said that it was better to review the existing laws and amend them to tighten the sentences.

Speaker National Assembly Asad Qaiser taking notice of the woman rape case has sought report of the incident from the IG Punjab.

Speaker National Assembly Asad Qaiser in a telephonic conversation with IG Punjab on telephone on Friday, strongly condemned the incident and termed it an extremely barbaric and shameful and directed to take all possible steps to ensure justice to the victim. "The protection of women is the first priority and responsibility of the government and such brutality cannot be allowed in any civilised society and such incidents are against our social values," he said.

He directed for immediate arrest of the accused involved in the incident and said that all possible means should be used to apprehend the accused. Adviser to PM on Interior Shahzad Akbar said the administrative negligence in the Lahore rape case is under investigation.

He said a committee has been formed under Punjab Law Minister Raja Basharat to investigate administrative negligence. He said modern technology is being used to trace the culprits involved in the crime. He said the inquiry committee will make report on basis of facts.

Meanwhile, Chairman Pakistan Ulema Council, President Darul Afta Pakistan Hafiz Muhammad Tahir Mehmood Ashrafi said that DNA test report should be considered as witness in rape cases and court should announce sentence to all rape culprits including Gujjarpura debacle considering DNA test report as witness.

Following a meeting of Darul Afta Pakistan here on Friday, Hafiz Muhammad Tahir Mehmood Ashrafi, President Darul Afta Pakistan issued a decree stating, "DNA test report should be considered as witness in all rape cases, and culprits accomplice in abusing children and making rape with women should be punished in public.”

He said Constitution of Pakistan is devised in accordance with the teachings of Quran-o-Sunnah; therefore all the courts of the country should announce sentence to culprits proven guilty in rape cases keeping reports of DNA test as witness.

In accordance with the teachings of Quran-o-Sunnah, there are explicit commands to ensure punishment for culprits of rape to be lashed in public. The courts should acknowledge DNA test report as witness and ensure speedy trial of rape cases and for appeal of these cases, judges of High Court and Supreme Court should be assigned who must be authorised to announce verdict in 24 hours.

The culprits of rape and abuse should be punished at the very place, where they had committed the crime. Hafiz Muhammad Tahir Mehmood Ashrafi also announced that Pakistan Ulema Council is going to make a countrywide campaign to punish culprits proven with rape charges should be punished in public.