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Another gang rape on motorway rattles Pakistan

Police say the prime accused has been arrested

SAMAA | - Posted: Oct 14, 2021 | Last Updated: 3 days ago
SAMAA |
Posted: Oct 14, 2021 | Last Updated: 3 days ago

Photo: Samaa

A young woman was gang-raped on the motorway after being lured to travel in a car by the rapists who posed as potential employers and were accompanied by a woman accomplice, the police have said.

The rape on the M4 motorway near Gojra has rattled the country as it reminds many of the last year’s motorway gang rape case which led to nationwide protests.

The M4 motorway connects Multan to Faisalabad in central Punjab.

The police have arrested the prime accused.

The 18-year-old victim was contacted on phone by the prime suspect Hamad who offered her a job.

Toba Tek Singh District Police Officer Mahvar Khan told journalists the victim accompanied a woman to Gojra for the job interview on October 11. The victim and the woman accompanying her were received by three people, two men Hamad and Rehman and one woman Laiba, he said.

The presence and involvement of a woman built trust and this was the reason that the victim talked to the accused, according to the DPO.

The accused asked the victim and the woman accompanying her to travel with them in a car to Faisalabad where ‘the interview’ was to take place.

“On the way, the accused raped her in the car … and fled after leaving her on the Kamalpura Interchange,” Mahvar said.

The victim and her companion travelled back to Gojra and contacted the police on October 12, he said.

The police said an FIR has been registered at the City Police Station on the complaint of the victim’s uncle.

According to her uncle, his niece was called to Gojra for an interview. When she arrived in Gojra from Toba Tek Singh, the accused asked her to get in a car.

He said there was a woman and two men in the car. “The accused gang-raped my niece on the motorway and threw her at Faisalabad Interchange,” the victim’s uncle said, according to the FIR.

The Police say the victim’s medical examination has been performed and samples have been sent to the forensic lab in Lahore.

“The prime accused has been arrested and we are carrying out raids to arrest the accomplices,” the DPO said.

The accused has confessed to the crime, said police sources.

Punjab CM takes notice

Punjab Chief Minister Sardar Usman Bazdar has taken notice of the incident and sought a report from RPO Faisalabad.

He ordered the immediate arrest of the accused.

The CM said that the accused should be arrest and action should be taken according to the law.

Last year’s motorway rape case

Last year, a woman was gang-raped on the outskirts of Lahore after her car ran out of fuel and she was stranded on the motorway. Her two children were with her.

The rapists also robbed her of cash and jewellery and fled.

The incident shook the country as horrific details emerged, and people protested in several cities including Karachi, Lahore, Islamabad, Multan and Lahore.

The police launched an investigation and identified one of the rapists when his DNA sample matched with the record in the Punjab Forensic Authority database.

Eventually, the police arrested the prime suspect Abid Malhi and his accomplice Shafqat Ali Bagga. They were sentenced to death by a court in March this year.

It is the only rape case in the country that was reported without naming the victim. However, many people including officials could not refrain from victim-blaming.

The then Lahore CCPO Umar Shaikh came under fire for saying that the victim had left the house without her husband’s permission.

A detailed timeline of the motorway rape case is available here.

Rape and harassment in Pakistan

If you or anyone you know is a survivor of harassment or rape, then you can contact the following organisations:

  • Punjab Commission on the Status of Women- 1043
  • FIA cybercrime wing- report the complaint at complaints@fia.gov.pk or helpdesk@nr3c.gov.pk
  • Madadgaar Toll-Free Helpline- 1098
  • Digital Rights Foundation’s Cyber Harassment Toll-Free Helpline- 0800-39393
  • Sahil Toll-Free helpline- 0800-13518
  • Pakistan Citizen portal

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