They said they were abducted, held hostage
A Lahore district and sessions court has sent the four young girls, who went missing from the city and were found in Sahiwal Wednesday, home to their parents.
The case was heard by Judicial Magistrate Wasim Waris Friday.
The girls recorded their statements in court. They said they had left their house for a walk and were abducted on the way. The suspects held them hostage at their house and then took them to Sahiwal.
They wanted to marry us off, the girls said. Their initial medical reports submitted in court revealed that the victims were not raped. The final reports will be presented at the next hearing.
In a media briefing on Thursday, Lahore DIG Shariq Jamal said the girls were moved to the Punjab Child Protection Bureau after they refused to go home. The court, however, rejected the department’s request and sent them back to their parents.
The prime suspects, identified as Qasim, Kashif, Shehzad, Naeem, and Asif, and two women were presented in court as well. In a conversation with journalists, one of the suspects claimed the police tortured and assaulted them.
“I just informed them about the crime on 15. I have nothing to do with this,” he said.
On Thursday, the court remanded the prime suspects into police custody for four days. The women were, on the other hand, sent to jail on judicial remand.
According to the FIR, earlier this week, four girls, between the ages 8, 10, 11, and 14, left their houses for a Metro train ride and did not return.
The police said on Wednesday that one of the girls was carrying a mobile phone with her. They traced the cellphone to a location in Sahiwal and alerted the police there. When they reached the location, the girls were found with a man, identified as Qasim. He called himself their relative and was a rickshaw driver by profession.
Lahore DIG claimed the girls were taken to Sahiwal for human trafficking. “The suspect sold one of them for Rs100,000.”
The police are going through Qasim’s criminal record. “We found out that his wife recently travelled to Dubai multiple times. The police are trying to ascertain the purpose of those visits,” the officer added.