Prime rape suspect sent on 14-day remand

Bureau Report

LAHORE: An anti-terrorism court (ATC) in Lahore on Tuesday sent the prime suspect in the motorway gangrape case to jail on two-week judicial remand.
Abid Malhi, one of the two suspects in the case, was arrested from Manga Mandi, some 33 kilometers from Lahore, by Lahore police’s Crime Investigation Agency (CIA) on Monday.
Malhi was brought to court under tight security, with a black hood covering his face that was removed during the proceedings.
During the hearing, ATC Judge Arshad Hussain Bhutta approved a request by the prosecution to hold an identity parade of the suspect and directed that the process be completed as soon as possible. The court also handed over the other suspect in the case, Shafqat Ali, to police on physical remand till Oct 28.
The incident occurred last month off the Lahore-Sheikhupura motorway wherein the suspects allegedly subjected the woman to sexual assault in front of her children. The heinous incident sparked nationwide protests amid growing calls for accountability of the culprits.
Subsequently, on Sept 14, six days after the rape, the Counter-Terrorism Department (CTD) arrested Shafqat Ali from a house in Depalpur, Okara. His DNA samples matched the samples found on the rape survivor’s clothes.
According to sources, while the suspects’ DNA test had already been conducted thrice and the results had matched with the samples of the rape victim, however, the test would be conducted again before further proceeding in the case.
Following the incident, human rights activists and citizens have demanded that the government do more to stem violence against women, including ensuring perpetrators are held accountable. Worryingly enough, the country has seen at least 3,500 instances of sexual assault this year, according to a Karachi-based organisation, War Against Rape.
Furthermore, Abid Malhi has revealed the details of his month-long run from the police. He said that he had spent a month travelling through various cities in Punjab using public transport while wearing a mask over his face.