Alert Sign Dear reader, online ads enable us to deliver the journalism you value. Please support us by taking a moment to turn off Adblock on Dawn.com.

Alert Sign Dear reader, please upgrade to the latest version of IE to have a better reading experience

.

PESHAWAR/MARDAN: The Khyber Pakhtunkhwa police on Wednesday acknowledged that the medico-legal report confirmed the sexual abuse of a minor girl, whose body was recovered in Mardan on Sunday evening.

The statement followed after days of silence on part of the police that fuelled speculation about a possible cover-up of the sexual abuse of the slain four-year-old in the already charged atmosphere caused by the rape and murder of a Kasur minor girl, which triggered a national outrage.

On Wednesday, KP police chief Salahuddin Khan Mehsud told a hurriedly-called news conference at the Central Police Office here that the police’s initial investigations suggest that the attacker’s main objective was to sexually abuse the deceased but the cause of death was strangulation.

He said the medico-legal report required further clarification and therefore, the police had sent samples from the girl’s body for forensic examination, which would throw further light on the case, as some of its aspects were not clear in the initial report.

Police chief says initial probe suggests Mardan minor was strangled

Mr Mehsud said the police were investigating the case from three angles to know the motive of the culprit.

“At this stage, commenting on this will compromise investigations,” he said.

The police chief said minor girl’s body was recovered on Sunday evening a day after her disappearance.

“The medical report showed that she was strangulated, while there were also bruises on her body,” he said.

Mr Mehsud said on Jan 15, the Mardan regional police officer formed a 13-member committee consisting of the girl’s family members, local elders and dispute resolution council’s members to monitor the police’s investigations and share its observation with the police.

He said some committee members were workers of six political parties.

“The committee was meant to ensure the transparent and swift investigation into the incident,” he said.

The police chief said his force was trying its best to trace culprits of the ‘blind murder’ without delay.

He said the district police updated local elders and provincial police on the case every day and that they had also briefed the elders committee and girl’s family about the findings of the medico-legal committee.

“As soon as the investigations come to an end, the police will share their findings with the media. They would not hide anything,” he said.

Mr Mehsud said the police were arresting and questioning suspects besides conducting their DNA profiling.

He said discussion on the medico-legal report by the national media wasn’t appropriate.

The police chief said as the Gojar Ghari area was located on the outskirts of Mardan, no CCTV footage was available to help the police investigators.

He said eight of the nine suspects named in the Dera Ismail Khan girl stripping case were behind bars and that the trial court had rejected the bail applications of the accused.

In Mardan, political leaders and social workers visited the house of the assault and rape victim.

Among them were PML-N provincial president Ameer Muqam and central leader Tehmina Daultana, PPP’s Robina Khalid, MPAs Nighat Aurakzai and Shazia Tamash, and social worker and PTI chief Imran Khan’s former wife Reham Khan.

They offered Fateha for the girl and expressed solidarity with her family.

Condemning the assault and killing of the girl as an inhuman act, the visitors criticised the PTI’s provincial government for failing to protect public life.

They also flayed the local administration and police’s failure to culprits.

Also in the day, the Awami National Party took out a rally from Par Hoti Kalpani area to the Mardan Press Club building against the incident.

Led by district nazim Himayatullah Mayar, the protesters blocked the Shams Road for some time suspending traffic.

The nazim asked the chief minister to step down over the incident. He also called for the early arrest of culprits for exemplary punishment.

He insisted that instead of thoroughly investigating the incident, the local police wasted all their energies and time in trying to hide the girl’s postmortem report and gave the media misleading information and thus, causing confusion.

The nazim regretted that neither the chief minister nor any provincial minister visited the girl’s house to sympathise with the family.

Published in Dawn, January 18th, 2018