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PESHAWAR: The Peshawar High Court on Tuesday gave one more month to the officials of Dera Ismail Khan police for arresting prime accused in a case of stripping a teenage girl and parading her naked in her village last year.

The development came as an official of the DI Khan police told a bench consisting of Chief Justice Yahya Afridi and Justice Syed Afsar Shah that the force had made every effort to arrest the prime suspect, Sajawal, but to no avail.

The bench later fixed June 26 for the next hearing into the case asking Kulachi deputy superintendent of police Khalid Usman to ensure the arrest of the key suspect before that.

The DSP said eight of the nine accused had been arrested, while the police was going all-out to arrest the absconding accused, Sajawal, who mastermind the crime.

DI Khan police say they’re striving to capture Sajawal

He said the police had raided several places after receiving information about the presence of the accused but they didn’t find him there.

The computerised national identity card (CNIC) of the accused has already been blocked by Nadra, while his name has been placed on the exit control list.

On Nov 22, a high court bench headed by the chief justice had disposed of a petition filed by the alleged victim of stripping, asking the IGP to submit progress report of the investigation to the PHC’s Human Rights Cell director for the perusal of the chief justice.

In the petition, the girl had made several prayers to the court seeking protection, recovery of film of the incident allegedly made by a local resident, and the arrest of prime accused Sajawal.

So far, the police have claimed that no evidence could be found that a local resident Rehmatullah had recorded the incident on cellular phone.

The girl had claimed that around two years ago, the prime suspect had blamed her brother for handing over a cellphone to a female member of their family and despite his denial on oath, the panchayat (jirga)had ordered her brother to pay a fine of Rs300,000 to them.

She added that despite the decision of the panchayat, the accused led by Sajawal had paraded her naked in the village on Oct 27, 2017.

In her statement recorded with the magistrate, she had stated that she had gone in the morning to fetch water from a pond along with some other women and while returning back the nine accused persons forcibly ripped apart her clothes. She said that when the accompanying women tried to give a shawl to cover herself, the accused threw it away.

She said initially, the local police didn’t cooperate with his family members and even refused to register FIR but did it only after the local people protested.

Published in Dawn, May 16th, 2018