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

.

NOWSHERA/MARDAN: A local court on Thursday remanded in the police’s custody a man suspected of assaulting a two-and-a-half-year-old girl for three days.

The police had arrested the suspect, Mohammad Hamad, in Khush Maqam village near Akbarpura area here on Wednesday after the local people thrashed him claiming he was caught red-handed.

He was produced before civil judge-cum-judicial magistrate Bakhtzada Khan amid tight security.

The police didn’t allow reporters to speak to the suspect, who belongs to Lahore and lives near Pabbi railway station.

Police say joint probe panel formed; lawyers refuse to defend suspect in court

The local residents said the suspect, who collected junk on motorcycle, had lured the child by giving her a toffee.

The police registered an FIR of the incident under sections 50 (exposure to seduction) and 53 (sexual abuse) of the Khyber Pakhtunkhwa Child Protection and Welfare Act, 2010, and sections 376 (punishment for rape) and 511 (punishment for attempt of offence punishable to life) of the Pakistan Penal Code.

The complainant in the case is the girl’s father, who claimed that he along with his brother had caught the suspect assaulting his daughter at an under-construction place in the area after hearing her screams.

The local residents also showed up and thrashed the suspect before handing him over to the police injured.

The child was later shifted to the Mian Rashid Shaheed Hospital, Pabbi, for treatment and medical examination.

A news release issued by the police department stated that Nowshera district police officer Qasim Ali had formed a joint investigation committee led by the SP (investigation) along with other police official to investigate the case.

It added that the committee would present the progress report on the case to the DPO on a daily basis.

Meanwhile, the local lawyers took out a protest against the alleged assault and other incidents of violence against children and announced that they would not extend legal support to the suspect.

Nowshera District Bar Association president Mian Sajjad Ali Shah, who led the protest, said no member of the association would defend the suspect in the case and that lawyers would extend support to the girl’s family and local administration.

Also, MNA Ayesha Gulalai visited the girl’s house and demanded trial of the suspect in a military court.

She also demanded Rs5 million as compensation for the girl’s family.

In Mardan, Chief Minister Pervez Khattak on Thursday visited the house of a four-year-old girl, who was strangled after assault.

He assured the family of the early arrest of culprits for exemplary punishment.

The chief minister was accompanied by provincial police chief Salahudin Mehsud, education minister Atif Khan, PTI lawmakers Iftikhar Ali Mashwani and Zahid Khan Durrani, Mardan commissioner Zakir Hussain Afridi and relevant government officers.

The chief minister offered Fateha for the girl and sympathised with her family.

The girl’s uncle and complainant in the case, Zahir Muhammad, and other family members told the chief minister that they were satisfied with the police’s action and investigation.

They said they won’t allow anyone to politicise the incidence.

The CM assured the family of financial assistance.

He said the police were updating him about the investigation into the case on a daily basis and that the government would ensure the early arrest and punishment of the killers.

Also in the day, PTI MNA Ayesha Gulalai visited the girl’s house and offered Fateha for her besides expressing solidarity with her family.

While criticising the police over failure to arrest culprits, she demanded that a military court hear the case.

Meanwhile, Mardan district police officer Dr Mian Saeed said in a statement issued here that the police had interrogated 116 suspects in the case and further interrogation of six of them was underway.

He said the police would put the suspects to polygraph test and that they had already carried out the geofencing of the area.

The DPO said he was hopeful that the culprits would be arrested very soon.

Published in Dawn, January 19th, 2018